Democrats question legality of title change

The excess/property resale committee of the Madison County Commission had a seemingly simple recommendation during its meeting last week, but a question about the request and its method sparked a conversation that actually happened twice in the meeting.

Committee chairman Jeff Wall (Republican-District 9) recommended that the title of “coordinator of excess property” be added to that of commission administrative coordinator Sarah McClain.

Three Commissioners – Claudell Brown (Democrat-District 5), Aaron Ellison (Independent-District 7) and Luther Mercer (D-District 1) – all questioned if the recommendation was legal according to the Commission’s rules or if that should’ve gone to the personnel committee first.

Commissioner Olivia Abernathy (I-District 2) suggested to Commission Chairman Gary Deaton (R-District 4) that situations like this are a good reason the purpose of each committee should be explained to the Commission, particularly those who were elected a few months ago.

Wall clarified the vote wasn’t giving McClain a raise or any kind of added compensation.

“If we’re going to discuss that, then that’s a discussion for budget season,” Wall said. “But Sarah does a great job and has been a big help in getting the County down to having no excess property on its roll that she deserves the title and the responsibility because she’s doing the job already.”

Commissioners Sheila Godwin (D-District 5) and William Martin (D-District 1) stood up with questions similar to the earlier questions but adding they had no problem with giving McClain the added title or possibly an eventual raise.

“Just because we as a Commission can do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,” Martin said in response to a statement from Commissioner Arthur Johnson (R-District 6). “If we’re not going to go to the committees when we’re supposed to, then what’s the purpose of having them?”

McClain’s job title change passed 17-3 with Mercer, Ellison and Godwin being the dissenting votes.

Tippett returns to Commission

Commissioner Gary Tippett (R-District 7) returned to the Commission meetings after missing in December after having a heart attack and triple bypass surgery.

His first meeting back was the Republican caucus meeting a week earlier.

“I’m feeling good and getting around OK, still getting my energy back,” Tippett said. “But I’ve already lost 20 pounds from the diet changes my doctor told me I needed to make, and I’m feeling better because of that.”

Petty in the hospital

Commissioner Harold Petty (R-District 10) missed last week’s meeting because he was in the hospital.

Mayor A.J. Massey asked for prayers for Petty as he was fighting to get better.

Petty has had a number of health issues in recent years including a bout with cancer.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news