Commission chooses county administrator; considers interim resolution for additional judge

by Ron Gholson

The Blount County Commission voted unanimously at its Monday business meeting to offer the job of county administrator to Zac Marsh of Locust Fork. Initial salary was set at $55,000 annually.

Marsh holds dual degrees in accounting (2010) and finance (2011) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The effective date of employment is April 1, subject to criminal history and credit checks to be completed upon his accepting the job. An interview with Marsh will be published soon.

The commission had received applications and resumes from 13 candidates for the job, interviewing all of them before deciding to offer the job to Marsh. Commissioners Gary Stricklin, who offered the motion, and Allen Armstrong commented that all the candidates were well qualified, making the choice a difficult one.

“I would like to congratulate the commission on a good decision,” said Probate Judge/Commission Chairman Chris Green. “I look forward to working with Mr. Marsh, and to a bright future for the county in working with him.”

Bill Burns, president of the Blount County Bar Association, asked the commission to pass a nonbinding resolution supporting the bar association’s long-term plan to add an additional judge to help relieve crowded court dockets in Blount County. The cost of an additional judge and staff is estimated at about $300,000 annually.

Burns said the group would approach the county legislative delegation for assistance in creating the additional judgeship as well as in developing a revenue stream within the county to provide the necessary financial support. Addition revenue would be raised by increasing court filing fees by an amount up to $20. The local law required would be proposed in the 2014 session of the Legislature, and would require a local referendum for citizens to approve the associated tax measure, probably in the general election next year.

The commission will take the matter under consideration, with a target date of the April 8 business meeting to vote on a possible interim resolution.

Sponsorship requests approved •request from RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) to sponsor a table for $100 at its Thursday, May 9 banquet. •request from Blount County Children’s Center to sponsor a table for $250 at its annual fundraiser on Tuesday, April 23. •request from Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a table for $200 at its March 19 annual banquet. (Approved after Green broke a tie vote with an affirmative, following “no” votes by commissioners Self and Armstrong.)

Budget amendments •corrected a previous budget amendment crediting $1,187 for scrap to the maintenance department; corrected to credit District 3 instead. •credited $4,500 insurance reimbursement for damage to Easley Bridge to District 4, which had paid the original bill out of its budget. •credited $940 for insurance reimbursement for accident damage to vehicle to the engineering department.

In other actions, the commission: •approved continuation of catastrophic leave for a jail employee. •reappointed Don Crowder to an additional term on the Remlap/Pine Mountain Water Board. •approved purchase for District 2 of John Deere tractor for $55,000 from state bid, and authorized chairman to arrange financing.

Engineering items •contract for $99,030 for engineering assistance from CDG engineering in pre-paring paperwork for ATRIP projects submitted to CDG Engineering for signature. •County engineer Winston Sitton complemented Covered Bridge contractor Bob Smith on “above and beyond the call of duty” work during renovation process, including provision of three kiosks for historical information. Green appealed to citizens to be vigilant in taking care of the now-renovated bridges, noting that “it’s not visitors from outside the county who damage and vandalize our bridges; it’s local people who do that.” •Holy Family private cemetery located off county road 26 west of Blountsville has passed all required approvals: probate judge, health department, county engineer and commission vote. All commissioners and the commission chairman were present at the Monday business meeting. The next commission work session will be Thursday, April 4, at 9 a.m. The next business meeting will be Monday, April 8, at 9 a.m. Both will be in the commission boardroom at the courthouse.