Commission looks to remain competitive

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The Marshall County Commission is extending its work year after Monday night’s monthly meeting.

Traditionally, the November meeting marks the final commission meeting for the year but a special called meeting is already planned tentatively for December 16.

“There are a lot of things we need to wrap up before years end that can’t wait until the end of January,” said Mayor Mike Keny.

One issue that seems certain for the agenda is discussion of a new salary survey for county departments.

A previous survey was completed two years ago, studying surrounding counties public service pay structures to make sure that Marshall County was competitive with neighboring governments for qualified employees.

Issues with the previous survey and increased pressure on employment, especially in Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff’s Office, have led the county to consider revisiting the process.

Commissioner Jeff Poarch faulted the focus of the previous study.

“Southern counties aren’t taking our employees,” he said, “the northern counties are. We don’t need to look at Giles and Lincoln. We need to look at Maury, Williamson, and Rutherford.”

The county hopes that studying the benefits offered and making adjustments when possible will ease some staffing issues by increasing the county’s competitiveness in attracting increasingly smaller pools of qualified applicants.

Commissioners approved the county’s final redistricting map, reapportioning the nine commission districts based on population data from the 2020 Census results.

Each of the districts must be roughly equal in population, requiring some boundary adjustments this year to account for uneven growth in certain areas.

“I’d like to thank the redistricting committee, “ said Commissioner Dean Delk. “It’s a tough thing to do and there are a lot of things we can’t control.”

Commissioner Vince Cuevas was the lone vote opposing the new district lines, which will remain in place until the 2030 Census.

The commission approved a contract with United Communications to provide phone and internet services to the new health department building, currently under construction on War Eagle Drive.

Also approved, but with more hesitance, was a three year information technology support agreement for county offices with Mapletronics. Commissioners discussed reports of dissatisfaction with the company’s services from several department heads, questioning the renewal of the contract.

Commissioner Tony Beyer said that there had not been time for the budget committee to evaluate and request bids from other providers prior to the contract ending. He added that the contract allowed for cancellation after each 12 month period and that the committee would plan for other options, if needed, within this year.

The commission approved several committee appointments. Commissioners Joseph Warner, Cannon Allen, and Seth Warf were named to the agriculture committee. Jeff Stewart was named to the audit committee. Sam Smith, John Reese, and Kevin Patin were named to the 911 board, and Wesley Neece was named to the municipal regional solid waste board.

The commission also approved appointments for the two commissioners appointed to vacant seats at last month’s meeting. Wesley Neece, who had stepped down from his 5th District seat before being appointed for the 9th District, was reappointed to his previous committees, animal control, law enforcement, and the beer board. Lynn Stocstill, who was appointed to the 5th District seat, was appointed to the public records, solid waste, and tourism committees.

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