Monday’s regularly Board of Supervisors meeting began as scheduled but not without some minor technological hiccups.
Out of an abundance of caution, some supervisors opted to participate in the meeting remotely from their homes. However, doing so presented some challenges such as connectivity and clear, undistorted audio for the supervisors.
Due to those challenges, the board agreed to resume the meeting Tuesday morning in a much larger area of the Washington County Courthouse — the circuit courtroom.
Before Monday’s meeting adjourned though, the BOS was able to conduct some significant business.
The board was informed Wilcox Road, Butch Wilson Road, Club 17 Road, Avon Darlove Road and Walker Road bridge projects have been completed; Walker Road is now ready for re-inspection.
In addition, Newsouth Marine Construction Inc., has several leaks in its roof that require immediate attention and engineers are now investigating the leaks to see if they were possibly caused by the storm that took place in January. If so, it may be eligible for FEMA funds.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has given the county permission to pave the sections near Highway 1 and VFW Road and Highway 1 and Reed Road.
Twenty-four hour notice to the county engineer is required before the road department starts construction.
Board attorney Willie Griffin informed the BOS of a matter which pertained to the termination of a county state aid engineer.
“I’ve been in contact with the state aid engineer and it was the state aid engineer’s position that Mr. Hooker’s contract, as a county state aid engineer, requires 30 days’ notice to terminate,” Griffin said.
Upon learning about such protocol, Griffin said he conferred with chancery clerk Marilyn Hansell as well as Hooker to retrieve a copy of the contract, but neither of the two had a copy to provide.
Griffin said he asked Hooker when the contract was entered and Hooker informed him it was entered some time in the early 1990s and is an ongoing contract.
“So, through an abundance of caution, I prepared a letter for this board’s approval,” Griffin said, “I recommend that the board authorizes Mr. McGee to sign that letter, send it to Mr. Hooker, giving him his 30 days’ notice, with the 30th day to be the eighth of May 2020.”
Griffin said he could not find any statutes which required such, but advised the BOS to comply with state aid engineer Harry Lee James’ stipulation.
District 5 Supervisor Jerry Redmond asked how the BOS was not aware of such a requirement until now, seeing as how the BOS approved the hiring of IMS Engineers back in January.
Griffin responded, “According to the state aid engineer, they have a regulation in their office that says you have to give county state aid engineers, 30 days’ notice. So the effect of it is, even though this county employed Mr. Hooker as state aid engineer, they take the position of ‘the county cannot terminate Mr. Hooker as state aid engineer without giving him 30 days’ notice and sending a copy to them.’”
A motion to “terminate the current state aid engineer agreement” was made by District 2 Supervisor Tommy Benson and seconded by Redmond. The motion won 3 to 1.