BOC reappoints attorney, clerk

COVINGTON - County Attorney Tommy Craig was reappointed by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night by a vote of 3-1-1, with one commissioner opposed and one abstaining.

Chairman Kathy Morgan, presiding over her first meeting, said she intended to address appointments at the board's Jan. 20 meeting, but was asked late in the day to amend the night's agenda to include the county attorney and clerk's positions.

Morgan said it's important to provide adequate information to each commissioner in advance of meetings, noting that she does not yet have a copy of the county attorney's contract. She said she preferred the matter be postponed until the next meeting, but deferred to commissioners, who voted to amend the agenda.

District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz said she was not prepared to vote with no information on the scope of the County Attorney's Office or its budget.

"As a newcomer, I feel like I need that information to make an informed decision," she said.

District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson said he faced a similar predicament as a new commissioner eight years ago, but was encouraged by his constituents to reappoint Craig. During the ensuing years, Henderson said he's come to respect Craig and his work.

"He has done a very excellent job," Henderson said.

District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing made the motion to reappoint Craig, with Henderson seconding.

The vote was 3-1-1, with Ewing, Henderson and District 5 Commissioner Tim Fleming in favor, District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons opposing and Schulz abstaining.

Craig has been county attorney for more than 30 years.

Also, Jackie Smith was unanimously reappointed as county clerk. Smith has served in that position since 1998, and prior to that was secretary to the chairman.

In other news, commissioners delayed awarding a contract for pest control services because the low bidder was not local.

Participating in the contract in addition to the county is the Newton County School System, the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority and Social Circle City Schools.

Nine acceptable bids were received, with Cox's Mid-Georgia Pest Control out of Grayson offering the lowest cost for all agencies, according to Purchasing Director Tina McDonald Malone.

Cox's bid for all agencies was $32,292, representing a 33 percent savings on pest control services.

The cost to the county would be $11,340, representing an 18 percent savings.

There were two local bidders - Beyond Exterminating, with a bid of $46,526.15, and current provider Cleary Exterminating Company Inc. with a bid of $58,560.

"I have a personal concern about dealing with somebody outside the county about services available inside the county. It's always been my goal to spend Newton County tax dollars inside the county," Ewing said.

Commissioners agreed to extend Cleary's contract, which expired Dec. 31, through the end of January, with plans to hold a work session to discuss ways the service may be provided locally.

The measure was approved 4 to 1 with Simmons opposing.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.