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Parnell takes oath as newest county commissioner (updated)

Published 8:58pm Monday, February 10, 2014

Joseph Parnell was sworn in as the newest member of the Chilton County Commission on Monday night.

Parnell fills the vacancy created by the death of longtime commissioner Tim Mims and was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley effective Monday.

Mims died in November 2013 after being first elected to serve on the Chilton County Commission in 1996. He served one term and served again in 2004 until his death.

Parnell is manager of Parnell Inc., based in Maplesville, which deals in land, timber and cattle.

Chilton County Judge Rhonda Hardesty swore in Parnell around 5:45 p.m. Monday, prior to the commission meeting.

Chilton County Commission Chairman Allen Caton welcomed everyone to the regularly scheduled commission meeting at 6 p.m. and told everyone Parnell was the new commissioner.

“I have already told him that he has big shoes to fill,” Caton said. “Tim was a well-liked commissioner and he did a great job serving this county.”

Caton told commissioners he would like to see something done to remember Mims.

“Tim was a big part of the commission and he worked hard for this commission,” Caton said.

Rep. Kurt Wallace discussed doing a House Joint Resolution that would be signed by both Wallace and Sen. Cam Ward along with Gov. Robert Bentley.

“We would be happy to have something like that printed up and present it to the commission and to Tim’s family,” Wallace said.

Commissioners approved a resolution to meet with Wallace and Ward and work on a House Joint Resolution in memory of Mims.

Commissioner Shannon Welch was put in charge of working on the resolution with Wallace and Ward.

Commissioners tabled a discussion brought forth by Welch concerning a county parks and recreation manager for both Minooka Park and Higgins Ferry Park.

Welch said he would like to see Minooka Park Manager Gerald Arrington assume the position of a county parks and recreation manager since Higgins Ferry Park Manager Frank Atchison announced plans to retire May 1.

“Gerald would have both Minooka Park and Higgins Ferry Park under his control,” Welch said. “He could help in writing a job description for someone to replace Frank.”

Parnell asked if Arrington assumed leadership over Higgins Ferry in addition to Minooka Park, would there be a different compensation package.

Welch said he thought it would be unfair to ask Arrington to take over both roles without compensating him for the work.

Heedy Hayes said before commissioners approved Arrington for the position they should know how much he would be compensated.

“Isn’t that something we need to know before we vote on letting him fill that position?” Hayes said.

Welch said Arrington had agreed to take the new position for the price he was getting paid at Minooka Park.

“I would hope that you haven’t talked to Gerald about a salary without talking to us,” Hayes told Welch. “He is agreeing to take the job without the money but I think this is something we need to talk about before we approve it.”

Caton asked Welch if commissioners could have some time to sit down with Arrington and work out the details before approving the position.

Parnell suggested coming up with an outline of what Arrington’s job requirements were to see if the commission could afford the position.

Commissioners unanimously voted to table the discussion until a future meeting.

In other news, the commission:

•Voted to solicit bids for a new incinerator for the Chilton County Humane Society.

Welch made a motion to advertise for a new incinerator with the minimum specifications presented to the commission by Terry.

Parnell seconded and everyone voted in favor.

•Voted to set the salary for the new position of Chilton County Revenue Commissioner at $65,000 a year. Chilton County voters decided in 2010 that the offices of Tax Assessor and Tax Collector should be combined into the Revenue Commissioner office.

Commissioner Joe Headley is pursuing the position along with Tax Assessor Rex Cleckler and Tax Collector Tim Little.

Hayes made the motion to set the salary and Welch seconded it. Everyone voted in favor except Headley who abstained due to a possible conflict of running for the position.

•Approved a request to downgrade County Road 442 to an unclassified rural route, which are regular roads, not heavily traveled throughout the county.

•Approved a request by county engineer Tony Wearren to insulate the roof at the road department with money from the county’s Capital Improvement Fund. The cost of the project would be roughly $6,000.

Everyone voted in favor.

•Accepted a bid from Tractor and Equipment for $37,900 for a pad foot single drum soil compactor for the road department.

Commissioners held a bid opening earlier in the meeting with three bids submitted. Tractor and Equipment was the lowest and most responsive bid.

Everyone voted in favor.

•Met in executive session at the request of County Attorney John Hollis Jackson under pending legal matters. Hayes also requested an executive session under good name and character. Commissioners met behind closed doors for roughly 20 minutes.

•Passed a resolution to appoint Doris Jones, Carol Harrison and Elizabeth Hill to the Department of Human Resources Board.

Everyone voted in favor.

•Heard from county administrator Connie Powell that the posted job position for Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director will expire Feb. 21.

Powell said only three applications for the position had been submitted. Interested applicants may view the position at www.newchiltoncounty.org/jobs.

•Scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss a hospital tax on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Everyone voted in favor.

Currently, a bill to allow Chilton County residents to vote on whether to enact a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new hospital is being considered in the Alabama Legislature.

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