Commission, engineer negotiate contract

Published 8:09 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Much of the Crenshaw County Commission’s work session and meeting consisted of discussion with County Engineer Benjie Sanders about his contract, which was not renewed earlier this year.

“I’d like to make a few comments from the discussions we’ve had,” Sanders said.

One of the issues that had come up involved maintenance on dirt roads.

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Sanders pointed out that from Jan. 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, 43.12 percent of the Highway Department’s costs have gone to placing material on unpaved road, blading and maintaining unpaved roads and ditching.

“A lot of that has come from FEMA repairs,” he said.

He also referred to an e-mail he sent to the commission where he stated his concern that if too many of the county’s “very limited” resources were devoted to one area, the county would lose ground on the road system as a whole, and where he asked commissioners for two roads in each district that would be made a priority.

Sanders also presented a revised contract proposal, which included the following changes: a three-year contract period instead of a four-year contract period; a proposed beginning salary of $113,000, which is approximately the same as Sanders’ current salary rounded down to the nearest thousand dollars and on target with the statewide average of $112,924 for county engineers; a revamping of the salary increase provisions; and removal of the automatic renewal clause.

No action was taken on the contract because of the absence of Commissioner Charlie Sankey.

“I feel like Charlie ought to be here,” said Chairman Ricky McElwain.

“That’s a pretty major deal,” agreed commissioner Merrill Sport. “Plus, we just got a new proposal tonight. I don’t think we should act on it without Charlie.”

In other business, the commission passed a resolution to accept the new district lines.

That resolution and the new lines will now be passed off to the Department of Justice for approval.