The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a claims docket of $556,992.66 with the exception of an invoice from Hayes Dent Public Strategies in the amount of $4,166.66.
Hayes Dent Public Strategies’ invoice to the county would typically be a part of the county administrator’s report.
However, per District 4 Supervisor Mala Brooks’ request, it was included in the claims docket for Monday’s regular meeting of the board for approval.
The claim docket usually includes utilities, contracts and various public services to the county.
McGee inquired of the county administrator as to how Dent’s invoice ended up on the claims docket; Brooks’ responded and said it was per her own request seeing as the public affairs firm provides a service to the public.
A motion was made by Brooks to approve payment of the claims docket, which was seconded by District 5 Supervisor Jerry Redmond.
The vote was split down the middle with Brooks and Redmond voting in favor of paying the claims docket and supervisors Carl McGee and Lee Gordon voting opposed.
Gordon then made a motion to pay the docket with the exception of Hayes Dent Public Strategies, but the motion died due to the lack of a second.
He reiterated the rationale of McGee in that Dent’s services should not have been included in the claims docket.
Brooks disagreed, saying, “If that’s the case we should take everything in the claims docket off ... if you review this docket, it has nothing but public service.”
She described the opposition to adding Hayes Dent Public Strategies to the claims docket as “singling out” a public service that members of the BOS “personally don’t like.”
Even though Hayes Dent Public Strategies had not been included on the claims docket in previous meetings, Brooks insisted she was not attempting to change anything about the claims docket process, but merely made a request.
“With every claims docket, there’s always public service in there. When you start identifying what public service should go in the docket, it becomes personal,” she said.
With neither of the two motions carrying and the possibility of an unpaid claims docket, BOS attorney Willie Griffin took the opportunity to offer his counsel on the matter, explaining the ramifications of an unpaid claims docket.
Gordon then motioned again to approve payment of the claims docket with the exception of the $4,166.66 payment to Hayes Dent Public Strategies. Redmond seconded the motion and it carried with McGee and Gordon voting in favor of the motion and Brooks abstaining.