Pickens County to suspend credit card use, offers reimbursement

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Pickens County Government

Some employees express concern the county  is “going backwards.”

The Pickens County Board of Commissioners Rob Jones and Jerry Barnes, voted to cancel all  county credit cards immediately and move to a purchase order/reimbursement system. Commissioner Becky Denney was absent.

Pickens County

Faye Harvey, Finance Director for Pickens County, asked the board to approve a motion to cancel the county’s credit cards at a called meeting on Thursday. The board approved the motion despite concerns from several employees.

Faye Harvey, finance director, asked for the change at Thursday’s called meeting. The move would mean employees making purchases would use their personal debit or credit cards, then submit paperwork through their department to get reimbursed.

It was met with concern from several employees from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department.

“So, if we have to pay for something like a new blue light, we’d have to wait weeks to be reimbursed?” asked Lt. Mitch Yeargin with the Sheriff’s Department. “It seems like we are going backwards.”

Harvey defended the change saying that the Pickens County Board of Education and school system does not have any credit cards and that the move would put the responsibility on employees.

credit cards

Photo by Robert Born of Unsplash.com
Pickens County commissioners approved a measure that would cancel all county credit cards effective immediately and switch to a reimbursement plan. The action was met with concern and frustration from several employees with the Picken’s County Sheriff’s Department.

Lt. June Blackwell expressed concern saying the move came after an employee abused the privilege and was terminated.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said after the meeting.

Sgt. Jody Weaver also expressed concern saying that many county employees work for $13 per hour and can’t afford to wait on reimbursement which could take weeks. “They can’t afford to finance the county,” he said.

“If it takes weeks, you need to contact me,” Harvey assured them. “It shouldn’t take that long at all.”

She said the county would keep credit cards for Home Depot, gas cards and have accounts will local merchants which would cover most expenses.

“If it goes on the county credit card, the county is liable for that charge, even if it isn’t authorized,” she said as the reason for the change.

Board Chairman Rob Jones agreed. “If I were you, I’d cancel the cards after the meeting.”

Harvey said she would wait until Friday to cancel the cards and the county would honor the debts.

TRENDING: See who is in the August 11th run-off election here. Check back for candidate interviews.

Most of the board’s agenda dealt with minor business that accumulated during the shut-down. In other board news, the board:

Recognized employees Robert Olsen and Jackie Hendrix, both with the sheriff’s department for 10 years of service.

Recognized Becky Hammontree with 20 years service to the county.

Approved purchasing a used surplus bus from North Georgia Community Action for $5,500. The bus has a working wheelchair ramp and the purchase is contingent on inspection and good working order.

 

 

Pickens finances $2.175 million for recycling

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pickens finance recycling center

Pickens County awarded a bid to Farmers Bank for the new recycling center.

JASPER, Ga.–The Pickens County Board of Commissioners awarded a bid to Farmers Bank of Greensboro, Georgia for a loan of $2.175 million for the recycling center. Farmers Bank offered the county a fixed 10-year loan with a 2.175- interest rate that can be pre-paid in part of full with no penalties. There was also no legal review fees.

Truist Bank, formerly BB&T, was the other bid, with a 10-year fixed rate of 2.28-percent, the ability to pre-pay in full with no penalties and a $5,000 legal review fee.

In this project, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia will be the lien holder. The county will transfer the property to ACCG and make payments through them. However, the county will maintain all control and responsibility of the property. Once the debt is paid in full, ACCG will deed it back to the county.

Trending Now: Pickens honors seniors with a drive by. Read story here.

This isn’t an unusual process, said Rob Jones, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

“We’ve gone through them several times, including on the jail and it was a good experience,” he said.

 

 

Pickens declares state of emergency; candidates weigh in

Community, News
Pickens Board of Commissioners

Pickens County declared a state of emergency in an emergency called meeting on Tuesday. This allows the Pickens County Office of Emergency Management to activate the emergency operations plan, specifically, Chapter 22, Civil Emergencies, located in the Pickens County Code of Ordinances to be put into place.

“What this document will do,” Rob Jones, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said, “is to remind people of the condition we are in.”

Pickens declares emergency

Pickens County has issued a Declaration of Emergency, allowing only essential businesses to remain operative while encouraging people who can to work from home.

Four people in Pickens County have contracted COVID-19, according the Georgia Department of Health. So far, 1097 people in Georgia have been infected and 38 have died while 361 are hospitalized.

We are the only hospital for several counties,” said Jones. “We have to do something to not get overrun.”

What it means

The declaration states that “all individuals currently living within unincorporated boundaries of Pickens County, Georgia (the “County”) shall shelter at their place of residence.”

“All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses.” These functions are described in section 10 of the document and states these are activities or tasks necessary for health and safety.

According to a press release, the “shelter in place” directive will limit personal contact. The Centers for Disease Control and the Georgia Department of Health encourage people to shelter in place and to practice “social distancing”– remaining six-feet apart for others.

All businesses, except Essential Businesses are required to stop except “Minimum Basic Operations.” The declaration clarified this businesses may continue to operate if their employees and contractors work at home.

What are Essential businesses

Essential businesses include:

Healthcare, including pharmacies, drug stores.

Grocery stores, certified farmers markets, produce and farm stands, food banks, convenient stores, any store selling canned, dry or fresh foods.

Food cultivation including farming, livestock and fishing.

pickens declares state of emergency

Restaurants in the county are required to become to-go only per the recent Declaration of Emergency signed by the Pickens Board of Commissioners.

Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or needy individuals.

Newspapers, television, radio and other media services.

Auto sales, gas stations, auto-supply, auto-repair and other related services.

Banks and related financial institutions.

Hardware stores.

Construction and maintenance service providers.

Mailing and shipping services.

Educational institutions for distance learning.

Laundromats, dry cleaners and other laundry services.

Restaurants and other that prepare and serve food, restricted to carry-out.

Businesses that supply products for those working at home.

Businesses and manufacturers that supply other essential business with the suport supplies neccessary to operate.

Services that ship goods directly to residences.

Airlines, taxis, car rentals and private transportation providers.

Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children.

Residential facilities.

Professional services.

Childcare facilities.

Retail liquor, beer, and wine stores.

Food manufacturers and distribution centers.

“We’re wanting to keep as many businesses open as possible,” said Jones.

Jones said the decision to declare an emergency comes after meetings with health officials. He said Piedmont Mountainside Hospital reached out to several civic leaders in phone meetings, including administration, public health, and the sheriff’s department to update each other’s respective offices.

“It’s worked out very well,” said Jones of the system.

Repercussions

While Jones doesn’t think it will be necessary to involve law enforcement–he is confident the residents of Pickens County will continue to do their best to adhere to the suggestions, the measure does give the county the power to step in.

“I don’t think it will come to that. The public is already doing the best they can in this particular time of history,” he said. “Maybe this will be a helpful- little wake up call.”

Observations from the campaign trial

One candidate doesn’t agree with the move, saying it’s just reiterating with Governor Brian Kemp said earlier.

shouse

David Shouse, candidate for Chairman of the Pickens Board of Commissioners, said he felt the declaration of emergency was simply rehashing what Governor Brian Kemp had done.

“I think it came across as a fear tactic,” said David Shouse, who is running against Jones in November’s election. “It caused a lot of confusion and anxiety with the citizens. I would have handled it in an entirely different way.”

For instance, Shouse said he wouldn’t have “waited weeks into this pandemic to address my community.”

Kris Stancil, another candidate for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said that while he may not agree with everything that has or has not been done “a time of crisis is not the time to jump in and criticize.”

Kris Stancil

Kris Stancil, candidate for Pickens County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, says he supports any measure that will help save lives and take care of people.

Stancil also said he isn’t privy to the information current commissioners have when they make decisions but his focus is helping people, so if the declaration helps, then he supports it.

“The more we can all stand united in difficult times, laying opinions and politics aside, the more we can accomplish in my number one objective, taking care of the people.”

Jones said the move was necessary. “We’ll do what we can to keep our lifestyle sustainable, but we have to start right.”

“As precarious as this time is, we are trying to keep people safe,” Jones said. “Common sense must prevail. Don’t panic.”

He said departments such as roads and building inspectors are still operational, but have separated into teams so if one team gets sick, they will have someone available for necessary county work.

“All the government entities are running, there is just no public access to the building,” he said.

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UPDATE: Friday qualifying for candidates in Pickens

Politics
qualifying

Pickens County qualifying is underway for those who want to make the ballot. Candidates can qualify at the Court House through Friday noon.

According to representatives for the Democratic and Republican parties, the following people have qualified for these positions. FYN will update this list each day until qualifying ends later this week.

Clerk of Superior Court

Jennifer Edwards Jordan (R-Incumbent)

Probate Judge

David White Lindsey (R-Incumbent)

Magistrate Judge

Larry Alan Morris (R)

Commissioner Chair

Robert Jones (R-Incumbent)

Kristopher John Stancil(R)

Commissioner District 2

Becky Denney (R-Incumbent)

Sheriff

Donald E. Craig (R-Incumbent)

Chris Allen Tucker, Jr. (R)

Tax Commissioner

Daniel Reeves (R)

Tracy Lynn Chester (R)

Amy Gibson(R)

Coroner

Mark Godfrey (R)

Board of Education 1

Mathew O’Bryant (R)

Donna Enis (R-Incumbent)

Thomas H. Gartrell (R)

Board of Education 4

Susan L. Finley (R-Incumbent)

Christopher Olin Pence (R)

STATE Qualifying

District 11 State Representative

Rick Jasperse (Incumbent – R)

Charlotte Williamson (R)

Kayla Hollifield (D)

State Senate District 51

Steve Gooch (Incumbent – R)

June Krise (D)

State Senate District 54

Chuck Payne (Incumbent – R)

Dan McEntire (R)

Public Service Commission District 4

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent – R)

Nathan Wilson (L)

Daniel Blackman (D)

John Noel (D)

Judge of Superior Court Appalachian Circuit

Brenda Weaver (Incumbent – Non-partisan)

District Attorney Appalachian 

B. Alison Sosebee (Incumbent – R)

FEDERAL Qualifying

Ninth District U.S. Congress

Michael Boggus (R)

Andrew Clyde (R)

Matt Gurtler (R)

Maria Strickland (R)

Kevin Tanner (R)

Ethan Underwood (R)

Devin Pandy (D)

Paul Broun (R)

John Wilkinson (R)

Dan Wilson (D)

Kellie Weeks (R)

Bonnie Siskin (D)

14th District House of Representatives

Click this link to see who has qualified for the seat.

United States Senate – Perdue Seat

James Knox (D)

Jon Ossoff (D)

Teresa Pike Tomlinson (D)

Tricia Carpenter McCracken (D)

Sarah Riggs Amico (D)

Shane Hazel (L)

Marc Keith DeJesus (D)

Maya Dillard Smith (D)

David Perdue (Incumbent – R)

United States Senate – Loeffler Seat (Special Election in November) 

Kelly Loeffler (Incumbent – R)

Doug Collins (R)

A. Wayne Johnson (R)

Kandiss Taylor (R)

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (D)

Matt Lieberman (D)

Joy Felicia Shade (D)

Ed Tarver (D)

Richard Dien Winfield (D)

Al Bartell (I)

Allen Buckley (I)

Brian Slowinski (L)

Derrick E. Grayson (R)

Rod Mack (Write-In)

Qualifying for the presidential preference primary election occurred in Dec. 2019 and will take place on March 24, but the general primary for the state is on May 19, 2020. For the general primary, early voting begins on April 27.

Pickens County Board of Commissioners meeting Feb 2017- Water Monitoring, Employee Handbook Changes and re-zoning

News

On Thursday, February 16, 2017 the Pickens County Board of Commissioners met for their regularly scheduled board meeting.   Once the meeting was underway, amendments to the agenda were made. These amendments included the Rotary Proclamation being added to the Consent Agenda section. After this, the agenda was approved, employees were recognized, and the finance report was given.

The Consent Agenda consisted of two parts. First, the Board signed forms pertinent to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s approval of application for funding and sub grant award of $11,250 for palm print machine for sex offender registration. Second, the Board signed the Rotary Has Heart Proclamation. Old business was conducted, then new business, before beginning the action items. These items included approving the minutes from the January 19, 2017 regular board meeting and the February 2, 2017 work session. There were also two rezoning requests. The first was for Toby R. Miller, who requested a change from Rural Residential to Highway Business. The second was Rock Creek Manor, who requested a change from Industrial to Highway Business with the addition of 4.37 acres. Both rezoning requests were approved.

The Fox Environmental Annual Water quality monitoring contract was then discussed, and employee handbook updates were made. The updates included a change which now allows a supervisor to request a doctor’s excuse from an employee after missing one day of work instead of the previous rule of three days.  Differ Compensation Plan 457 was removed from the handbook, and there was a clarification made on whether the county offices close on the weekday before or after a holiday that falls on a weekend. The rule is now that if a holiday falls on a Saturday, the offices take off the Friday before, and if the holiday falls on a Sunday, the offices close on the following Monday. There were two text amendments: the first being the re-adoption of Chapter 6 (Alcoholic Beverages), and the second being the re-adoption of Chapter 67 Land Use Intensity Districts and Map. Guest comments were made, and then the meeting was adjourned.

See full video below:

Pickens county Board of Commissioners discuss employee handbook updates during February 2nd work session

News

The Pickens County Board of Commissioners met on February 2nd for its monthly work session.  The only item on the agenda was employee handbook updates.

The discussion mainly focused on the requirement for employees to present documentation when using sick days.  Currently if the sick days exceed 2 concurrent days then the supervisor may require documentation from the employee.  This could be updated to change this requirement to 2 days, of course it would depend on the discretion of the supervisor.

There was also discussion regarding comp time, holiday pay, and retirement.  The changes, if made, could effect all County employees if they opt in on the terms and agreements.

FYN will follow up after the board’s regular meeting at which time changes could be implemented.

Pickens County Board of Commissioners Meeting 10/20/16

Videos

 

Pickens Board of Commissioners Meeting April 21st 2016 – Video

Videos

 

Pickens County Board of Commissioners Meeting January 21st 2016

Videos

ServiceyrsPBOC-1

Your guide to Tuesday’s primary

Politics

In an effort to bring you all the information on the candidates up for seats in Tuesday’s primaries, FYN has compiled a list of stories, videos and pictures from the races beginnings to now. Please take the time to educate yourself about who is running in your district before voting Tuesday. (more…)

Who is Jerry Barnes?

Featured Stories, Politics

FYN will be running a series of interviews with local candidates from the county commissioners and school board races. Each interview will be published separately and run again before the primary elections May 20.

Jerry Barnes, Incumbent, Pickens County Board of Commissioners, District 1
(more…)

Who is Bart Connelly?

Featured Stories, Politics

FYN will be running a series of interviews with local candidates from the county commissioners and school board races. Each interview will be published separately and run again before the primary elections May 20.

Bart Connelly, candidate, Pickens County Board of Commissioners, District 1
(more…)

Forum gives candidates voices on issues

Featured Stories, Politics

A room full of interested voters met the Pickens County candidates at Chattahoochee Tech last night as they presented their views on various topics affecting the positions they’re seeking. The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce hosted the contenders who faced questions from the pre-selected as well as the audience. (more…)

In lieu of forensic audit, county historical report compiled

Featured Stories, News

After months of requests, the county commissioners hope that they’ve put the financial questions regarding county financial dealings to a rest. Concerned citizens and two grand juries have been wondering where an estimated $5 million has gone over the past years. (more…)

School Board plans for water line improvement at HCES

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories, News

Sometimes repairing a problem before it becomes a problem is the right answer. The Pickens County School Board agreed with that thought today when they approved an intergovernmental agreement between the school district and the Pickens County Commissioners’ office. (more…)

Courthouse Cost Sees Lower Figures, All Parties Set To Receive Funds

Featured Stories, News

With the final numbers tallied on the Pickens County Courthouse construction, County Commissioner Rob Jones was confident the bond will be paid soon and with the final budget coming in under what was set aside, a windfall seems to be set for all who participated in the first S.P.L.O.S.T. collection. (more…)

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