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The Talking Points Crowd Stage a Revolt

Lacking any official meeting minutes from the Clerk and Recorder’s office, and tiring of the county attorney’s reply to CORA requests for these minutes, stating, “no such documents exist”, I have taken the liberty to transcribe the voice recording of the Nov 18, 2015 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting. I have transcribed the first two hours of the four hour meeting which covers the planned insurrection where some elected officials and employees called for the resignations of Commissioners Kelly Dore and Larry Ross. Elected officials and employees were protesting the two commissioners’ desire to place the county attorney on paid administrative leave pending possible termination and hiring outside counsel for the county.

The transcription contains gaps due to the poor quality of the recording and my bad ears. I apologize for those gaps. -Susan Shick

Nov 18, 2015 BOCC Meeting Transcript

Kelly Dore, acting chair of the BOCC calls meeting to order at 0901 in the BOCC meeting room in the administration building and is promptly advised by the sheriff, that the meeting room is over capacity with attendees. A decision is made to reconvene at 0930 in the Exhibit Hall at the county fairground. Acting chair, Kelly Dore calls the meeting to order at 0933.

Dore: Rowland announced at Monday’s staff meeting that he is stepping down as chairperson of the BOCC and gave no reason for his decision. Dore moves to appoint a new chair.

Rowland interrupts and says the first order of business is to approve the agenda. Commissioner Ross moves to accept the agenda, as presented. Rowland moves to strike New Business agenda items, A and B. No second. Motion fails.

Commissioner Dore moves to continue Item F to Dec.9. Item F continued to Dec 9. The motion is seconded and carries unanimously.

Agenda is voted in as presented. Ross and Dore Aye, Rowland Nay

Commissioner Dore, acting chair moves to accept nominations for new chairperson, again stating that Rowland announced Monday that he was stepping down. Commissioner Rowland nominates Larry Ross as Chairperson. Commissioner Dore seconds the motion. By unanimous vote of all three commissioners, Larry Ross becomes the new Chairperson of the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners.

Correspondence: Ross

Rowland says let’s vote on vice-chair. Ross nominates Dore as vice-chair. Dore aye, Ross aye, Rowland Nay

Correspondence: Ground Water Trust Dec 4 annual meeting, Ross invited to attend.

Consent Agenda: Accepted

Awards and Recognitions: None

The Actual Recording

Staff Reports:

Dallas Schroeder, Clerk: I come before you now today because I’m quite concerned on the state of the county. This county has put together a great team over the last two years and has made great progress in putting its financial house in order and great progress in putting the employees first and great progress in making this county what it can be. I am very disappointed and very concerned over items A and B in the New Business area. I believe it’s an attempt to break up this team and to put disorder back into Elbert County. Commissioner Ross, since I’ve been in office, I have watched you try and slow things down, try to hinder things, everything from the oil and gas until last week when you tried to slow things down on the refinance of the bond. I do not understand this. I believe it is a personal agenda to try and slow things down and why you would want to slow things down that could save the taxpayers of this county over a million dollars is beyond me, why you would do that. Commissioner Dore, I follow suit with you. I do not understand some of the actions that you have taken, either. You have put yourself in places where you do not belong in interacting with the department heads, interacting with elected officials and staff and that is not the role of a Board of County Commissioners. Your role is oversight, not to insert yourself into the process. And in the way of doing that it has created a great amount of strife and confusion among the staff and employees of Elbert County. And, I am extremely disappointed in the way that things have gone. I wish that they were different. I wish things were better but because of these actions I have no confidence in either Commissioner Dore nor Commissioner Ross in leading this county, and therefore I call for both of you to resign immediately.

Shayne Heap, Sheriff: I want to take you back for a minute to early April 2015 where elected officials submitted a letter to the BOCC. The elected officials include the Surveyor, the Treasurer (Pettit), the Assessor (Mills), the Clerk (Schroeder), the Coroner, and myself. The letter went on to state that we had met on multiple occasions and had, as a group, the same concerns regarding the state of the county. We agreed that, at best, this county is stagnant and more likely moving backwards. This comes as a result of a lack of teamwork on the part of the commissioners, unnecessary and unwarranted criticism of the staff in public meetings resulting in morale issues that we as leaders feel when the long afternoons are over. The overriding feeling is that staff is being set up for failure; a lack of a business plan, and the unwillingness to allow the county manager to do his job without unnecessary micromanagement. We went on to tell you that we have come to the belief that things are not going well and that we are here to support you, however if these items are not addressed and we continue down this path, we, as the six elected officials of the county will do what is necessary to prevent stagnation and a backslide. That brings us to today. Elbert County elected officials, department heads and staff have worked diligently for years to create an atmosphere of teamwork.

Through communication, mutual respect, and sacrifice we have seen Elbert County grow and prosper. We have lived within our means; we have done more with less and we have accomplished more in the past few years in this county than was accomplished in the previous decades. We are dedicated and caring individuals that have given our time, talent, and treasures to make Elbert County not just a better place, but the place that we make our homes and the place that we raise our families and the place that we live our lives. We’ve accomplished significantly more than what was asked or required of us and we’ve done it with a smile on our face. We are a team and we have a common goal. After years of hard work and sacrifice we recently looked up from our tasks only to realize that you, Commissioner Ross, and you, Commissioner Dore, are destroying everything we’ve worked hard to build. The county employs a supplement of short range disconnected, uncaring, and uninformed guidelines. You attempt to insert yourself into every aspect of daily operations and it is tearing down everything that it took employees years of hard work and dedication to build. To continue down this path of destruction will only bring increased hardship to its citizens and to the employees. As a team, we shouldered our share of the work, and then some. We’ve brought this county to the best financial status it’s been in in a decade. We’ve created an atmosphere of teamwork and friendship and we have dedicated ourselves to a common goal. The employees of Elbert County have done this while enduring a reduction of hours, no raises, no cost of living increases, a lack of support, a lack of leadership, and a fear of wondering when the next hammer will drop. There is no morale problem here except the one you have created to serve your own personal agendas. This week I’ve watched you jockey for political position to achieve self-serving goals, all the while ignoring the option of improving health care benefits for Elbert County employees. I’ve watched you tear apart and beat down this county’s greatest asset; that’s the people who have made the success of this county their life mission. You see, while this is just a stepping stone to your political aspirations, a short blip on your resume, the great majority of us have dedicated our lives and careers to making Elbert County a better place. My patience has come to an end. I cannot, in good conscience, stand by and watch you destroy everything that we have worked so hard to build. I’ll continue to support and stand by not only those here today but those who were afraid to show up here for fear of repercussions. Know this; your actions will no longer be tolerated. I, along with my fellow elected officials call for your resignations. Elbert County employees deserve leaders that have the citizens and employees best interest at the forefront of their minds in every decision that they make and in everything that they do. We’ve come too far to have everything destroyed by your personal political agendas and your lack of leadership. We care too much about the citizens we serve and the work that we do. We will not go quietly into the night. We will not let the citizens we serve suffer, nor we will let you destroy everything that we have worked so hard to build.

Continued >>