The Board of Supervisors, Administrator Elisa Mayo, and Sheriff Todd Kemp got into a heated discussion during Monday’s board meeting over issues pertaining to county passwords and the two IT employees, Slade Barnett and Scott Evans.
In the last meeting, the Board of Supervisors asked for all county passwords to office computers and related computer programs to give to the new IT person, Slade Barnett, that was recently hired on contract by the board to perform computer maintenance alongside Evans.
Mayo reported to the board that the passcodes to all Clarke County board computer equipment have been turned in in a sealed envelope and is secured in the evidence room at the Clarke County Jail until further instruction.
Supervisor Joel Speed asked the board if a background check had been performed on Barnett before giving him the passwords. “So if we are giving this guy passwords to our IT systems, has there been a background check on him? We voted a few months ago to perform background checks on all new employees going forward, did we not?”
Supervisors Darrick Marshall and Mickey Long both agreed this is a contractor, not an employee; therefore, no background check should be required.
“We haven’t done one on anyone, so are you singling him out Joel?” asked Supervisor Mickey Long. Again, Supervisor Speed asked if we are giving the passwords to Barnett without a background check. “We did it before,” stated Long. “If we are going to do that, we are going to do it on everybody. Like Darrick said, he is a contractor, not employee.”
Administrator Mayo brought to the board some points for them to think about before the motion was made to release the passwords to Barnett.
“It’s important that Slade understands that if some of the passwords are changed, it voids certain service contracts,” stated Mayo. “He needs to be educated on what to do with the passwords. Also, I wouldn’t be comfortable once you give someone the passcode to your computer; you can’t tell whether I went in and made a change, or they went in and made a change. You may have some issues there. Two people with the same password may cause some issues.”
Mayo asked them to make it clear in the board order exactly which passcodes to make available, whether it was just the passcodes that she has access too or the elected officials as well.
“If the passwords belong to the county and the board has a board order, that will be up to the board attorney to determine whether we get everyone’s passwords,” stated Marshall. “We are just asking for what belongs to the board of supervisors. If we hire someone and they work for us, we are not here to discuss what we are going to give to them. It’s a board order and we are GOING to give it to them. We are not asking permission, we are saying we are going to get it.”
Sheriff Todd Kemp addressed the board that he understands there is a personality conflict with the current IP person, but that he does not know the new IT person well enough to trust him. “Personally, I haven’t had a problem with Scott. I don’t know this guy from Waynesboro. I trust people, but this guy is going to have to earn my trust.”
Mayo also reported to the board that the contract with Barnett was unsigned; therefore, it is not a fully executed contract and needed to be signed by Barnett.
“Where is the contract with Scott?” asked Long. “Produce that contract with Scott. If you are going to price apples, make them apples; if you price oranges, make them oranges.”
Unhappy with the tone spoken to Mayo by Long, Sheriff Kemp defended Mayo. “Mickey, there is no need to get on to Elisa. There’s no need in jumping on her about this.”
Long stated he was not jumping on her but that they were not going to treat one person one way and one another.
Mayo again stated that Supervisor Carter asked her to pull the contract and send it to Barnett. When she pulled the contract, she noticed it wasn’t signed and therefore, it is not a fully executed contract.
“We do have some issues with the board and come Jan. 1, we are going to solve a lot of these issues,” said Marshall. “No one is going to work for me that I can’t trust. We will fix a lot of these problems. When people are going behind your back and sit in these offices and running litigation behind your back, that’s the problem right there. When we are trying to take care of constituents and these people sit up in these offices and talk about us like dogs, that’s the s*** you get into, and we are going to solve it in January.”
In other actions, the board voted:
• to purchase two new chairs for 911 dispatch
• to approve department head work reports
• to approve the emergency purchase of a garbage truck. One of the three garbage trucks quit
• to pay Vance Brothers for 2019 road plans $139,365.16 from the bond
• to pay three invoices to J&A Excavations for NRC watershed projects - $3,670.66, $105,103.22, $68,319.91. These amounts will be reimbursed to the county.
• to pay two invoices to Clarke Engineering for watershed projects $5302.32 & $2317.12
• to pay Greg Snowden for tax litigation services from November 1, 2018, to October 31, 2020, for $6675.00.
• to pay Diversified Companies $1550.00 for tag escrow postage refill
• to approve hiring Ellis Ray Doggett as part time deputy for the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office
• to purchase three new county cell phones to replace those that are broken
• to purchase fluids and tires for vehicles, and culverts
Supervisor Carter would like to use some of his discretionary funds to purchase a gazebo for the park on Shanks road.
No action was taken on the request for Clarke County 4H to use $2000 to purchase belt buckles.
Chancery Clerk Angie Chisholm-Gibbs reported to the board that the City of Quitman is holding court on Fridays in the upstairs courtroom. Numerous people waiting for court downstairs is causing too much congestion and problems for the customers of the offices downstairs. Supervisor Mickey Long will speak with the city about this problem.
Angie also brought to the board that several employees of the courthouse are not using the one entrance with the covid checkpoint to come in the courthouse. She was off with covid for three weeks and feels this is unsafe for everyone. She requested the board either enforce the policy or get rid of the checkpoint. “It’s nice to have the checkpoint, but if we aren’t using them, why have we got them,” asked Gibbs.
The meeting was recessed until Friday. The board will meet again Friday at 11 a.m. in the Supervisors meeting room. Board meetings are open to the public. They are held every first and third Monday of each month.