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R&B stipend passes with vote split

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The Grimes County Commissioners Court held a Regular Meeting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, and revisited Road & Bridge Engineer Harry Walker’s request for a temporary stipend during a trial departmental reorganization. The item was addressed in closed session as authorized by Texas Government Code 551.074, and when court reconvened, the request was approved 3-2 with Commissioners Phillip Cox and Barbara Walker voting nay.

The request for a 90–180-day trial reorganization was made by R&B Engineer Harry Walker after the retirement of Superintendent Sam Nobles. Walker requested to divide the superintendent’s duties among the three R&B foremen on a trial basis and pay the foremen a stipend. The motion to approve the stipend failed Dec. 21 in the absence of a fifth commissioner and a majority. The vote was split with Judge Joe Fauth and Commissioner Chad Mallett voting in favor and Commissioners Cox and Walker voting nay.

Per the Jan. 6 vote, the three foremen will receive a stipend totaling $7,500 for a period of five months.

The Examiner contacted both Commissioners Cox and Walker for a comment and Commissioner Cox provided the following statement:

“As with many decisions made by the Court, there are many factors that have to be considered. In this case, I am unable to discuss matters raised in closed session. I am able to tell you that my vote was based on the following concerns – county business should follow established county policy, expenditures should be made in accordance with the budget and common practice, employees should be paid commensurate with the work performed, and accountability should be a priority.”

Other court action: •Approved consent

•Approved consent agenda items that included the Treasurer’s list of claims and bills, payroll the Monthly Report and approved budget amendments and/or line-item transfers.

• Recognized Road and Bridge employees Paul Burzynski and Bill Wilson, each with 15 years of service to Grimes County.

•Received an update from Maintenance/Project Manager Al Peeler on the courthouse restoration project, jail mold remediation and new justice center construction.

•Approved the IRS 2021 mileage rate of $0.56 per mile for reimbursement of mileage for business use.

•Received the certificate provided by Mary Ann Waters, Tax Assessor-Collector, for completion of 20 hours of required continuing education.

•After a public hearing a 8:45 a.m. with no comment against, approved the partia replat of Main Street Acres Lot 44 in Pct. 1

•Rescheduled action to authorized Road and Bridge to sell the county maintenance barn property at Piedmont and Dallas Streets in Navasota to the Feb. 17 agenda.

Burn ban:

The burn ban remains lifted.