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Commission mulls providing development board with training funds
Transition to new county attorney continues
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District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines last week presented a request made on behalf of the Development Authority of Dawson County to provide funds to the newly appointed board members for training.

At the authority's last meeting on Jan. 31, Chairwoman Sherry Weeks lamented the loss of county funding in the event that the commission appointed new members to the authority board.

"If they chose to not reappoint some of the people that we have, then I think we should ask for training money from the board of commissioners," Weeks said during the meeting. "They're putting on new people for us and yet they're not giving us the money to train them properly."

Four new members were appointed to the board in a Feb. 16 vote by commissioners. The board members are Calvin Byrd, Steven Melching, Anthony Passarello and Brian Trapnell. Mike Ball, Brian Sticker and Weeks are also on the board.

During the commission's Feb. 23 work session, Gaines asked that the other commissioners consider allocating training funds to the board.

"I would like to see us support them in that manor and support the funding of that training," Gaines said.

Sticker, who was appointed last year and was unable to complete training within that calendar year, would also join the four new members in training. Ball and Weeks also have opportunities to complete advanced training.

Training for the five board members is estimated to cost $2,000 total, and training for Ball and Weeks an estimated additional $600.

Chairman Billy Thurmond said that he felt the board should fund the training for board members it appoints, and that the board members should not have to pay for their training expenses and wait to be reimbursed.

If approved the funds could come out of the money allocated in the budget for training, or out of the general fund.

IN OTHER NEWS:
Also during the Feb. 23 work session, new County Attorney Lynn Frey updated the board on litigation and the transition of cases from former attorney Joey Homans.

According to Frey, the sheriff's office received an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim in January. The EEOC has looked at the claim and declined to pursue it on behalf of the claimant.

The employee has received a Right-to-Sue letter from the EEOC and is free to file a complaint on their own in court. The employee has 90 days to file the complaint before they lose the right.

Another pending piece of litigation, a lawsuit brought against the county by Dawson Forest Holdings LLC. in regards to a zoning decision, has been answered. Frey said he will be continuing to handle that case going forward as well as all other open litigation against the county.

Frey said that the transition from Homans should be completed within the next two or three weeks.

"[The transition] is ongoing needless to say," Frey said. "I'm receiving files from Mr. Homans on a continuing basis and from what I understand the bulk of what remains...is old archival materials. At this point I should have all the current stuff."

Homans said in an email on Feb. 26 that almost all of the county's constitutional and elected officers have informed him that they will be retaining him as their general counsel.

Homans will continue to work on open cases for the chief magistrate judge, the clerk of court, the probate judge, the sheriff and the tax commissioner at the rate of $160 an hour. The board of tax assessors has yet to decide.