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Moye seeks job as lake project manager

Grady County Administrator Rusty Moye has his eye on a new job and he made his plan known to Grady County Commissioners Tuesday.
Moye first shared his proposal, which he describes as the “best management alternative for both the county and the Tired Creek project,” with commissioners during a closed session. The proposal was then discussed publicly when the meeting reopened. Commissioner Bobby Burns had to leave before the Commission adjourned and missed the closed door meeting.
Under Moye’s recommendation the board of commissioners would add to his title Tired Creek project development manager.
This is the same post that commissioners approved Aug. 17 and voted to advertise based on Moye’s recommendation. It was Moye who also pushed for and garnered commission support to contract with The Lucas Group, a national recruiting firm, to conduct a search for the project development manager.
Now two weeks later Moye says he believes he is the best candidate for the job. Under his plan, the county would hire an assistant county administrator at a salary beginning at $40,000 or more depending on qualifications and experience.
Moye also has plans to transfer a clerk, “at her present salary,” to the position of project secretary. She and Moye, according to his proposal, would operate out of an office trailer, which he says could be purchased for $94,981. The county administrator had already solicited bids on purchasing such an office trailer and a new crew cab four-wheel drive truck.
Moye also recommended replacing the existing clerk with the best possible applicant at an hourly rate of $10 per hour.
The dam construction site manager would also be given access to the temporary office facility, according to Moye. He said the facility could also serve as a site for project review meetings and work space for visiting engineers. The administrator suggested the office trailer be located near the water tank and maintenance shop currently located at the entrance to the 911 tower on the Tired Creek property.
The office furniture, computers and office machines would also be needed and Moye outlined a plan to acquire these from low bidders.
The $28,949 truck he has received a price quote on would be used for “daily general transportation, site vists and out-of-town travel.”
Moye’s recommendation calls for him to, in addition to managing the lake project, spend time on a daily basis with the new assistant administrator to “mentor this individual and insure a successful transition” to county administrator when the time comes. The current county administrator says he will still be involved in future roads & bridges projects, solid waste issues, 911 wireles communication upgrades and other issues facing the county.
When the meeting was reopened to the public and Moye’s proposal was made public commissioners made comments on the plan.
Vice Chairman Charles Renaud said Moye’s plan may be the best option for the county, but he was not prepared to make a decision for or against it until the board had an opportunity to compare the Moye plan with other alternatives.
To not do so would be “short selling” the county, according to Renaud.
At a minimum, according to Renaud, the county has three possible options. Option one would be to proceed with the search with The Lucas Group as the board previously voted. Option two would be the Moye plan or a possible Option three would be to solicit proposals from private firms that for a fee “would walk us through this and be there to handle this project for us,” Renaud said.
“I’m just not prepared to make a decision until all of the options are laid out in front of me. I’ve always said the best thing that could happen to Grady County is get the permit to build the lake, but I’ve also said the worst thing that could happen to the county is we get it and not make the project the best it can be. I just want to have all the information so I can make the best decision for the project,” the vice chairman said.
Chairman Al Ball agreed with Renaud that all three were viable options and he too commented that the hiring of Moye and an assistant administrator may be the best option considering the time frame of the project, but he questioned what was the appropriate parlimentary procedure to follow since the board had voted two weeks prior to advertise the new position.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley suggested taking a vote not to pursue the advertising of the position. Moye pointed out that he had postponed advertising until the board made a decision on how it would proceed.
Vice Chairman Renaud suggested the board schedule a work session to discuss all of its options. Chairman Ball said the board should not take action on anything since Commissioner Burns was not present to participate in the discussion and the decision making.
Commissioner Charles Norton agreed any action should be made by the full board.
However, County Administrator Moye insisted the project is being held up by the board’s indecision.
“We need to be setting up meetings with our consultants and these are meetings the project manager needs to be a part of. We are delaying this project every week because no one has started anything yet. Any type of cutting of timber or design work is on hold. No dam design work is being done. They are all waiting on this board to act,” Moye said.
Chairman Ball said he was aware that issues regarding the 100-foot buffer plan and its development were on hold, but he questioned how that would delay dam design or the fisheries management plan.
Moye said everything was on hold until a meeting with all of the consultants could be scheduled.
Commissioner Norton said it was his understanding that at a meeting county leaders had with consultant Wm. Thomas Craig that he would be “ram rodding the project for the next six months on a retainer.”
Chairman Ball said that was discussed, but it was never clear and no decision to retain Craig was made. Moye said the county is paying Craig’s office on an hourly basis.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs urged the board to proceed with naming Moye the project manager.
“It’s a no losing deal to me. The longer we put it off costs can go higher and higher. We are just spinning our wheels if we keep putting it off,” Childs said.
Childs also stated that no one knew more about the permit and the project than Moye. “He understands it from A-Z,” Childs commented.
Commissioner Norton said he did not have a problem with tapping Moye as project manager, but he stated that in his opinion it would be “premature” to put a portable office building on the lake site.
“I do think it is important that we make a decision fairly soon. I agree with Charles we should have a special meeting to make a decision. Either rescind the previous decision or act on it. We did decide to advertise for the project manager so we need to either do it or not,” Norton said.
As he has said previously, Norton repeated his concern that the project manager position was not likely to be a full-time position. He stated his objections to hiring a project manager to work a 40-hour week with the possibility of the job ending up taking only 20 hours per week yet the salary is based on 40 hours.
During the Aug. 17 meeting, Moye said The Lucas Group had estimated the salary for a manager of a project such as Tired Creek would run in the $70,000 to $120,000 range.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Chairman Ball told The Messenger no additional compensation was discussed for Moye should the county name him the project manager.
Ball also explained that various commissioners had been discussing the possibility of Moye serving as the lake project development manager “over the last couple of months” in “conversations here and there.”
The commission chairman was very vocal at the Aug. 17 meeting that anyone hired as the lake project manager should be experienced and successful in grant writing, a skill Moye admittedly does not have.
Chairman Ball said Tuesday that if Moye is hired as the project manager then it would be a requirement that the assistant county administrator, if one is hired, be well versed in grants.
Ball had commented two weeks ago that, in his opinion, the project manager should not be someone who is just drawing a salary but someone who can successfully apply and obtain grant funding that would offset his or her salary.
The board has scheduled a called meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 14, to discuss the matter and Chairman Ball told board members to “be prepared to make a decision at that time.”

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