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County to begin search for park manager at Higgins Ferry Park

Published 2:46pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Chilton County Commission unanimously voted on Monday to advertise for a park manager at Higgins Ferry Park.

Commissioner Shannon Welch said Higgins Ferry Park Manager Frank Atchison announced plans to retire in May, and Welch thought the job position needed to be posted.

“I think we need to go ahead and start the process of advertising for the position,” Welch said.

Commissioner Heedy Hayes asked what the status of the plans were involving a previous discussion at the Feb. 10 commission meeting when Welch brought up the possibility of a county parks and recreation manager for both Minooka Park and Higgins Ferry Park.

During the Feb. 10 meeting, Welch said he would like to see Minooka Park Manager Gerald Arrington assume the position of a county parks and recreation manager since Atchison planned to retire May 1.

The commission voted to table the discussion about hiring Arrington for a parks and recreation manager Feb. 10 due to lack of information about how much Arrington would be compensated for the job.

Welch told Hayes on Monday that the job for park manager at Higgins Ferry Park would not be the same as parks and recreation manager.

“I am just trying to figure out if we pay someone to replace Frank and then we turn around and add a new position for Gerald, then this will cost the county a lot of money,” Hayes said. “I’m sure Gerald doesn’t want more responsibility without more money, and I am just trying to find out how much money this will cost us when this is all said and done.”

Commission Chairman Allen Caton said regardless of the possibility of a new county parks and recreation manager, the position of park manager at Higgins Ferry needed to be filled.

“We are going to need someone to fill Frank’s position because we need someone at the park,” Caton said.

Commissioner Joe Headley echoed Caton’s statement by pointing out that a lot of activities happened at Higgins Ferry Park requiring a person to be at the park full-time.

“I think someone needs to be at the park all of the time,” Headley said.

Commissioners unanimously voted to advertise for a park manager position at Higgins Ferry Park.

During the public comments section of the meeting, commissioners heard from Terry Wilson who spoke on behalf of members from New Convert Baptist Church regarding the possibility of a storm shelter being placed near the church.

“We would like to see a storm shelter near our church,” Wilson said. “We would have someone at the shelter every day.”

Caton told Wilson that the locations for the storm shelters to be built throughout the county under grant funding had already been decided.

Welch told Wilson he would work with the new county emergency management director to make sure the director applied for additional grants for storm shelters.

Commissioners also heard from Arrington who requested permission to hire a part-time individual to work at Minooka Park.

Arrington told commissioners since the park opened there has been a part-time employee to work the front gate and clean the area.

“As of this Saturday, I no longer have that employee and would like to be able to hire another person,” Arrington said.

Commissioners unanimously voted to allow Arrington to hire a part-time employee at the park.

Arrington also updated commissioners about the Minooka Mud Run held at the park on March 15.

Arrington told commissioners there were roughly 130 runners with “lots” of spectators.

“Everyone had a good time and we made some good profit for the park,” Arrington said. “We plan on making it an annual thing.”

In other news, the commission:

•Met in executive session for more than 30 minutes under general reputation and character.

•Voted on a resolution put forth by Hayes to have County Road 54 paved by the end of the year.

Chilton County Engineer Tony Wearren said it would be difficult to have the road paved by the end of the year with various RAMP projects underway.

Commissioner Joseph Parnell asked Wearren when he thought the road could be paved, but Wearren said he did not feel comfortable giving a time frame.

“We will work on the road at the same time we are working on RAMP projects to get everything done as fast as we can do it,” Wearren said. “I’m just not comfortable giving an exact date.”

Commissioners Hayes and Bobby Agee voted in favor to have County Road 54 paved by the end of the year with commissioners Parnell, Welch and Caton voting against the motion.

Commissioner Greg Moore was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Commissioner Joe Headley abstained from the vote saying he didn’t know enough about the process that Wearren would have to go through to submit the proper documents to the state before County Road 54 could be paved.

The motion was voted down 3-2.

•Passed a resolution approving a sign to be placed in front of the Chilton County Tag Office saying “Chilton County Tag and Title” on the front of the building.

County Administrator Connie Powell told commissioners a resolution had already been approved for a sign, they just had to approve what words would be placed on the sign.

Hayes said he did not recall voting to put a sign on the front of the building and told commissioners he would not vote in favor of the resolution.

“I don’t remember the resolution for the sign so I am not going to vote in favor of this resolution until I am sure,” Hayes said.

Commissioners voted in favor of the new sign with Hayes voting against the motion.

•Passed a resolution to advertise for a full-time driver at Chilton County Transit.

Everyone voted in favor.

•Passed a resolution to begin to solicit bids to sell two older transit buses.

Everyone voted in favor.

•Voted to not hire a new EMA director on Monday and interview the top three candidates a second time before hiring.

Parnell presented the motion saying he thought it would be best for commissioners to interview the top candidates a second time to ensure the commission would be making the right decision.

“I think this decision is critical, and as close as the competition is we need to all feel confident we are making the right choice,” Parnell said.

Commissioners voted to schedule a second interview for the top three individuals at 4:30 p.m. April 14 (prior to the regularly scheduled commission meeting at 6 p.m.).

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