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County commissioners consider changing courthouse locks

Grady County Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Ellis identified concerns he has with courthouse security and met with county commissioners Tuesday night to discuss possible remedies.
“As EMA director I look into a lot of things and this is something that has been pressing on me for sometime,” Ellis said Tuesday night.
The EMA director told county officials he is concerned that on court days the north door to the courthouse is routinely unlocked at approximately 7 a.m. and remains unlocked until 8 a.m. when courthouse employees arrive at work.
“No one is there to monitor who comes in and out or has access to the courthouse before 8 a.m.,” Ellis said.
Ellis said he does not have the authority to approach law enforcement with his concerns so he brought them to Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar.
Tobar requested Ellis address the board.
Ellis said a solution would be for law enforcement to assign one officer to monitor the unlocked door until the courthouse officially opens at 8 a.m. According to law enforcement the doors are unlocked early so that lawmen can set up for courthouse security on the second floor and inspect the second floor before court begins. The doors are not locked back so that other law enforcement personnel will have access to the building prior to 8 a.m., according to law enforcement officers.
“The first thing we should do is find out just who all have keys to this courthouse. No one has a clue who has keys,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
The veteran county commissioner suggested the building be rekeyed and keys issued and records maintained on those who are issued keys.
“We should penalize anyone found to have a key that has been copied. There has to be some internal control,” Commissioner Norton said.
Commissioner Chairman T.D. David suggested Tobar meet with all of the parties involved including the sheriff and city police and bring back a recommendation.
“You need to get everybody involved and talk about this. I’m not opposed to reissuing keys like Charlie is saying. Every now and then you just need to do it,” Chairman David said.
In other business Tuesday night, the board:
Heard an update from County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley who reported he would be in Atlanta on Jan. 5 to represent the county in defense of the stream buffer variance issued by the state that is being challenged in the Georgia Supreme Court.
Authorized Tobar to prepare a nomination for the Tired Creek Lake project as a public works project of the year in the Georgia Chapter of American Public Works Association’s contest.
Renewed beer/wine licenses for County Food and Tire, Route 84 Country Store, D&C Country Store, Friends International, One Convenient Stop #3, Gilliard’s Store, Fast Fuel, Midway Grocery, One Convenient Stop #2, Pure Country Store, Quick Buys #134, One Convenient Stop #5, Thomas Mercantile and Calvary General Store as well as on-premise sale permits to T&S Lounge and the Zodiac Club.
Reappointed Drew Pyrz to the Grady County Joint Development Authority.
Voted to hold the mileage reimbursement rate to $0.505 per mile.
Approved payment of bills to Cook, Noell Tolley & Bates of $4,501.68 and Wm. Thomas Craig of $12,741.74 relating to legal expenses related to the Tired Creek Lake project and associated litigation. For 2014, the county has paid Cook, Noell Tolley & Bates $23,769.40 and Wm. Thomas Craig has been paid $74,143.44.
Ratified verbal approval for Brad Cole Construction to relocate some dirt to be used in the fisheries plan developed by Bill Dance Signature Lakes. Brad Cole estimated the cost at $36,288 and the work can be completed by January 6.
Authorized the chairman to execute a contract renewal with Innovative Healthcare Solutions of Valdosta to provide inmate medical care at the Grady County Detention Center at a cost of $131,698, which is up 1.5 percent over the current contract. According to Tobar, outsourced medical service costs have been reduced to $24,924.80 in 2014 compared to $80,999.58 due in part to procedures put in place by Innovative Healthcare Solutions.
Authorized the chairman to execute a contract renewal with Valley Services, Inc. to provide food service at the Grady County Detention Center, which includes a 1.78 percent increase. To date in 2014, the county has spent $135,392.14 out of the $189,000 budgeted to feed jail inmates.
Approved a task order with consulting engineer Stacy Watkins for preliminary engineering and design for the access road for the Gainous Road boat landing site at Tired Creek Lake. The not-to-exceed price is $11,500, which will be paid out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax collections, according to County Administrator Tobar.
Reappointed Commissioner Elwyn Childs and Teresa Groves to serve on the Georgia Pines Community Service Board.
Approved payment of an additional $7,043 to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia for workers compensation insurance.
Accepted the sole bid of $4,560 per year for lawn maintenance submitted by Turf-Pro Lawn Maintenance. Turf-Pro is the current provider and maintains the grounds at the courthouse, health department and senior center.

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