HomePoliticsTempers flare at close of County Commission

Tempers flare at close of County Commission

By Brandon Shields

Managing editor

The February meeting of the Madison County Commission meeting was a fairly short one with all business taken care of in less than 40 minutes and one personal matter between Commissioners addressed in the final five minutes.

The main agenda item that generated conversation was the discussion of a pay raise for the Commissioners.

While some Commissioners were OK with the proposed raise of their pay to $1,000 per month, the majority weren’t.

Tony Neihoff proposed an alternative that didn’t raise the Commissioners’ pay but did allow for the elected officials to be able to be a part of the County’s benefits package.

At first, his proposal was for every benefit a full-time County employee has, but Claudell Brown questioned why retirement wouldn’t be included.

Neihoff’s proposal, which would’ve been an amendment to the original motion, was voted down, as was the motion altogether with seven Commissioners out of 21 voting for it.

The vote wasn’t down party lines as three Republicans – Gary Tippett, Kevin Hicks and Mike Taylor – voted yes, along with three Democrats – Sheila Godwin, William Martin and Luther Mercer – and one independent – Aaron Ellison.

If passed, the raise wouldn’t have gone into effect until September of 2026 after the next round of County elections, and any raise County Commissioners get, members of the Jackson-Madison County School Board automatically get that raise as well.

Tony Black wanted a pay study done for the entire County payroll to determine how much each department’s pay should be raised before he would be OK with approving a raise for the Commissioners, and that idea was voted down as well.

The Commission unanimously approved a request from a yet-to-be-named business looking at possibly locating a facility in Jackson called Project SAM.

Mayor A.J. Massey brought this to the Commission a couple months earlier as the business would be interesting in helping lay the groundwork for a childcare facility in or near the industrial park near the western edge of the county.

Massey explained their vote on Tuesday was regarding the company paying on a 12-month option for the potential land purchase while the company still gets a few other issues regarding grant proposals and other items lined up.

At the end of the meeting before Chairman Taylor could adjourn, Tippett wanted to respond to a statement made in the January meeting by Black, when Black said he was talked to like a child by Tippett after the December meeting when Black made a motion on an issue that dealt mainly in Tippett’s district.

Tippett said it was unfair for Black to make his presentation last month when Tippett was absent and that Black’s representation of the conversation was an overestimation of Tippett’s mood during the conversation.

He went through Black’s statement phrase by phrase and explained why each one was incorrect.

By the time the conversation was over, Taylor had to bang his gavel and calm both Tippett and Black down when Black called Tippett a liar and Tippett continuing to speak about how Black’s statements were incorrect.

The meeting was called for adjournment after Gary Deaton stood and looked at a group of Boy Scouts who were in the back of the room watching and said if any of them were thinking about being county commissioners when they grow up to not let this situation cause them to change their mind.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news



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