South Alabamian

WashCo E-911 board members resign positions

The Washington County Commission met Thursday, Sept. 29, in both a work session and a called special meeting.

In the special meeting, commissioners stated that there was possibly a mass-resignation of 911 board members imminent. Commissioner Herman Williams began the discussion saying that board chairman D.R. Stallworth indicated he is willing to resign so that the commission can assume control of the E911 office. “911 has been a problem since forever,” Williams said. “Although I don’t want to, it looks like it may be necessary for the commission to take it over.”

Commissioner Allen Bailey also expressed reluctance about the commission assuming control of 911. When Probate Judge Charles Singleton stated that things seemed all right out there when he went out of town yesterday, Bailey said, “It all began to blow up this afternoon with us (commissioners) getting phone calls that the whole board is going to resign.”

Singleton stated, “911 has a meeting Monday night. Their budget can’t support what they have out there.”

Sheriff Richard Stringer who is a member of the 911 board said that there is one board member who is closest to the director; “I won’t call names,” who wants the board to resign so the director can keep his job under the commission. “There is a meeting Monday night and there are going to be some changes. It took $90,000 out (of 911’s income) when law enforcement pulled out.” Stringer went on to add that ambulance service is not dispatched from 911 and some fire departments want out.

Singleton said, “What I would suggest is you hold your meeting and do what y’all have to do and if it doesn’t work, then the commission will have to take over.”

Carl Simpson offered the resolution that if the 911 board resigns the commission will take over. The resolution passed with Bailey voting for, but stating “I don’t want to.”

Monday’s E-911

Board meeting

The Washington County E911 Board was scheduled to conduct a meeting Monday, Oct. 3. However, last week, three members handed in their resignations: Barry Orso, D. R. Stallworth and Tammy Hayes. The board was already short one member due to the resignation of Chatom’s Chief of Police Brent Callihan several months ago.

The rumors flew last Thursday that the whole board would resign and allow the county commission to assume control of 911. However, until all members resign, the commission cannot take over the troubled agency.

Sheriff Richard Stringer who is board member said, “We knew this was going to turn out this way. We don’t have a quorum; we can’t hold a meeting. We knew before we came. It was a pre-planned thing.”

Gordon Sloat remarked that the building could be without electricity because without an approved budget, the agency cannot pay bills. Sheriff Stringer asked Burke Williams, director, to surrender the checkbook to the remaining three board members, which he said was according to the law. Williams complied.

Commissioners Herman Williams and Carl Simpson were present. When 911 board member, Tim Holyfield stated that he would take possession of the checks, Simpson expressed concern about security. Holyfield stated that they would be kept in the possession of the Millry Police Department.

Williams and Simpson decided to call the attorney for the Association of County Commissioners for Alabama Tuesday to seek legal advice about the impasse to see how best to proceed

Other resolutions

During the Sept. 29 special meeting, commissioners passed the following:

•Adopted GASB (General Accounting Standards Board) recommendations.

•Hired four dispatchers for the Sheriff’s Department: Heidi Sullivan, Rachael Davis, Shelly Owens and Mandy Jackson.

•Hired Donna Fay Tucker as probate clerk.

Work session

As part of their proposal for the new heating/cooling system in the courthouse, Schneider Electric also included a new state-of-the-art phone system. At the work session, Bobby Frank Williams and Annice Jordan of the Millry Telephone Company were on hand to offer a proposal from Millry Telephone.

Schneider had projected that their new phone system would save the county $33,000. “We have had a difficult time understanding how Schneider got to the $33,000 savings,” Jordan said. She added that Millry Telephone can offer the commission an immediate $2,800 annual savings on long distance.

Millry Telephone is the DSL provider to the courthouse. Jordan explained that the seven DSL lines cannot be “stand alone.” She went on to state that the courthouse complex now has 40 lines for which the county pays $43.32 per month. These can be disconnected for a savings and purchasing 1 PRI (Primary Rate Interface ISDN Access Line). She went on to explain that one PRI would have 23 channels and support 23 incoming or outgoing calls. There will be 78 extensions and 23 channels. Millry Telephone’s system would save the county $10,000 annually.

Jordan stressed that there would be no support past 12 months with the Schneider system. Sonya Kirkwood, county administrator, spoke for the commission staff expressing their concern about having to call someone from Birmingham (Schneider’s base) if the courthouse had a problem with phones. She said that when phones are down, it is the commission staff that receives the complaints.

Commission Chair Charles Singleton stated that the main proposal from Schneider was for the courthouse cooling and heating system. The phone system proposal was added later. “Schneider went on some assumptions we cannot provide, “ he said.

Carl Simpson stated that he does not want to disregard the $900,000 savings projected by Schneider. The commission will communicate further with Schneider before making a decision about a new phone system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.