Magistrate’s office may be moved

CHIEF MAGISTRATE Larry Bearden

Grady County Chief Magistrate Larry Bearden recently requested the county commission allow his office to move into larger quarters down the hall of the courthouse, but commissioners are looking at new quarters for his office at the Grady County Sheriff’s Office & Detention Center.
County Administrator Rusty Moye unveiled a proposed floor plan for utilization of existing office space adjacent to the courtroom at the jail which could be utilized by the magistrate court.
According to Moye, the erection of a wall would create a four-foot, two-inch-wide hallway providing private access to a suite of offices that could be utilized by the magistrate’s office.
A proposed layout shows a judge’s office, office for two clerks, and a third office/storage room. According to the proposed layout, the magistrate’s office would have 488 square feet of office space which is smaller than the 548 square feet at its existing location.
Under Judge Bearden’s plan to move into the former tax assessor’s office, he would have 895 square feet of office space.
However, county officials say that relocating the magistrate court to the sheriff’s office & detention center facility would eliminate the need for prisoners to be transported on a regular basis to the courthouse for arraignment, and would be more convenient for law enforcement to obtain warrants and to conduct bond hearings.
County Code Enforcement Officer and Building Official Larry Ivy solicited bids from local contractors regarding the erection of the proposed new wall and bids were opened Tuesday morning.
Among those bidding and their respective bids are: Murkerson Construction Co. – $3,985; Cairo Home Builders – $2,067; Rodger Heaberlin – $2,255; and Lodge Construction – $1,300. After the bids were opened, Moye recommended the commission table action until Ivy could meet with the low bidder to verify the job specifications.
After the meeting, Judge Bearden told The Messenger he had not been told officially of any plans to move his office to the detention center complex. “If they are, they’re blindsiding me,” Bearden said.
The commissioners are expected to make a decision at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 16.
In other business Tuesday, the  board:
Accepted the low bid of $5,040 from Keller Lawn Service for grounds and lawn maintenance at the courthouse, senior citizens center and health department for 2009.
Tabled action on bids for custodial services for 2009. The board solicited bids for custodial services, but on Tuesday, at the suggestion of Commissioner Charles Renaud, the board met with Sheriff Harry Young to discuss the possibility of hiring a certified corrections officer to supervise a crew of inmates to clean the courthouse, family learning center, agri-center and courthouse annex three days a week. Sheriff Young indicated his support for the proposal and agreed to investigate the liability and other aspects of the proposal before making a final commitment. “I think it is a good idea and will be glad to look into it,” Sheriff Young said. Since the current contract with Newmon’s All-Pro expires on Dec. 31, Commissioner Bobby Burns asked if the sheriff could give the board a final answer by its Dec. 16 meeting and Young agreed he could. The bids for the custodial service include: Singletary Diversified – $51,150; Hawthorne Cleaning – $41,940; Thomas-Grady Service Center – $36,645; and Newmon’s All-Pro – $34,680. The current contract calls for cleaning five days a week and the county has been paying $51,600.
Met in closed session to discuss the possible employment of a new county agent to replace Stuart McKinney, who resigned Nov. 1.

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