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Commissioners heard requests for higher pay and new heavy-duty truck Tuesday

Grady County Commissioners continue to delve into the proposed spending plan for 2016 and on Tuesday night heard requests from Grady County Clerk of Superior Court Debbie Kines and Grady County Extension Service Coordinator Deron Rehberg.
The clerk of court is seeking a five percent raise for her staff and an eight percent increase for Lynn Gainous, who Mrs. Kines is planning to appoint as chief deputy clerk of courts.
Mrs. Kines appeared before commissioners Tuesday night to explain and justify the raises, which are more than the three percent cost of living raise included in the budget proposed by Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar.
According to Mrs. Kines, all deposit account fraud cases are now being handled in Grady County State Court rather than in Magistrate Court, and this has increased the paperwork handled through the clerk’s office.
“When there is a transfer of responsibility and additional work, there should come some additional compensation,” Clerk of Court Kines said Tuesday.
Mrs. Kines said that no one has served as chief deputy clerk since she became the clerk. According to her, she was appointed chief deputy clerk by the late Annette Alred in 1985.
She told commissioners that Lynn Gainous is a person who is dedicated, ethical, and has the ability to oversee the duties of the office in the absence of the clerk.
Grady County Commission Chairman LaFaye Copeland asked Kines if there was a job description for the position of chief deputy clerk and if it was a position that should be opened up to all candidates.
Mrs. Kines explained that the appointment of a chief deputy clerk was at her discretion and not the board of commissioners.
She said she did not think it would be fair to make an appointment and her selection not be compensated for the extra duties and responsibilities.
Administrator Tobar said he had noticed an increase in work load within the clerk’s office and he said Mrs. Kines has a “good team” in place that works with “any drama.”
Mrs. Kines also commended the commissioners’ office for producing budget reports that balanced with her internal accounting of budgeted expenditures.
“We used to get reports from the commissioners’ office that we never could get to balance or reconcile with our figures. It’s good the offices are now in sync and I know where I stand with my budget,” Mrs. Kines said.
Commissioners took no action on Mrs. Kines’ request and did not indicate approval or denial of the request in the 2016 budget.
Commissioners also heard Extension Service Coordinator Rehberg’s justification for purchasing a new pick-up truck for his use in the 2016 budget rather than delaying the purchase until 2017.
Rehberg said the truck he is driving now does not have sufficient horse power to handle the loads he has to pull to and from 4-H events. “You get up near Macon and you just have to bury your foot into the floorboard to keep it rolling,” Rehberg said.
Also, the vehicle already has over 155,000 miles and he estimates by the end of 2015 it will have approximately 167,000 miles. If the purchase is delayed until 2017 the vehicle will have over 200,000 miles, according to Rehberg’s estimates.
The Extension Service Coordinator is seeking either a Dodge with a 6.4 liter engine or a Chevrolet with a 6.2 liter engine to replace the Ford F250 Super Duty with a 5.4 liter engine.
Rehberg said that his ag agent would also need a new vehicle by 2017 and by shifting the purchase of a new truck for himself it would prevent the county from having to purchase two new trucks in 2017.
Administrator Tobar said he would not recommend purchasing a new vehicle for the ag agent. Rather, he said he would provide the ag agent with a hand-me-down once the vehicle was replaced.
“I would never ask you to buy me a new vehicle. I drive a hand-me-down and I would recommend providing the ag agent a hand-me-down,” Tobar said.
The administrator also asked what had changed in terms of load weights when the Ford was purchased and today.
Rehberg said that the Ford was undersized for his requirements, but that he was told the board would not approve the purchase of a diesel powered truck for his use back in 2007.
“The truck is eight years old and it doesn’t have the pep it once did,” Rehberg added.
Tobar stood by his recommendation to delay the purchase until 2017 and the board did not indicate if the new truck would be added to the 2016 budget or not.
Commissioners will meet again Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Grady County Courthouse to continue their review of the proposed budget.

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