COUNTY COMMISSION MEETINGS will begin to be held at the former Grady County Senior Center in January, however, the commission office and administrative staff will be in the new location at 33 17th Avenue N.W. within two weeks, officials say.
The Grady County Commission office and administrative staff are in the process of relocating to the former Senior Center on 17th Avenue N.W., which will free up office space on the first floor of the courthouse. Officials at this date do not know who will eventually occupy the offices.
County Commission Chairman Keith Moye noted at the start of Tuesday’s board meeting that the Dec. 15 commission meeting would be the last one to be held at the courthouse and that future commission meetings would be held at the new administrative offices located at 33 17th Ave. N.W.
County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, admitted Tuesday that the proposed move was a controversial topic, but he said the move would be completed within two weeks.
Officials had previously said that office space vacated by the commission office and administrative staff could be utilized by the Grady County Magistrate Court or the Grady County Board of Tax Assessors.
However, on Tuesday, Johnson said that neither the magistrate court nor the tax assessors wanted to move into the courthouse.
Temporarily, some of the vacant office space will be utilized by the Grady County Clerk of Courts office, while that office is expanded and remodeled.
No long-term plan for the first floor of the courthouse was discussed Tuesday, but Johnson did seek guidance on how to proceed with making decisions regarding allocating the vacant space.
According to Johnson, he had been told that he had the authority to make decisions regarding county buildings with consultation with the board, but at least one commissioner had indicated a desire to be involved in the decision making.
Johnson said he did not have a problem if the board wanted to make the decision of “who goes where” but he wanted the board’s guidance moving forward.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland asked the administrator for clarification of how much additional office space was being assigned to the clerk of court. Johnson said that the storage room between the existing administrator’s office and the current clerk of courts office would be taken in by the clerk as well as the area where administrative assistant Mary Griffin works, which was the tag division of the tax commissioner’s former offices.
Johnson said his office, under his recommendation, would be converted back to a conference room that could be utilized by any office, the courts, or by lawyers for depositions and other uses.
The office being vacated by the finance director could be offered to State Court Judge Joshua C. Bell. According to Johnson, the county currently pays Judge Bell $275 per month for office rent, since no office is available to him at the courthouse. The administrator said that the current finance director office would make an ideal office for the judge and the county could eliminate the rental payments to the judge.
Johnson said the current board meeting room would continue to serve as a courtroom that could be utilized by the magistrate and probate courts, but no decision had been made about the remaining offices being vacated by the commission staff.
Chairman Moye, Vice Chairman Phillip Drew, and Commissioners Ray Prince and June Knight voiced their support for the administrator making decisions regarding office assignments. Commissioner Copeland concurred with the stipulation that the board is consulted prior to decisions being made and having the opportunity to offer suggestions. “I just don’t like being kept in the dark,” Copeland said.
Johnson concurred with Commissioner Copeland that the board is responsible for the courthouse and county buildings. However, he said he was not seeking the sole power of making a decision and he agreed he would keep commissioners abreast of future decisions.
In other business Tuesday, the board:
‰Adopted meeting minutes that had been tabled at the last meeting. Commissioner Copeland had sought to have additions included in the minutes. After reviewing what she was requesting Johnson said he had no objections and county clerk John White added to the minutes a reference to Copeland seeking public confirmation from the county attorney that there was no legal issue regarding the commission moving to the former Senior Center. The board also approved of the additions and unanimously approved the minutes with that addition as well as the correction of two errors.
‰Heard a report from Georgia Practice Facility owner Ray Woods about two special events held at his facility on Bold Springs Road Oct 16-18 and Nov. 13-15. Other than a traffic issue at the November event, Woods said there had been no problems and commissioners said they had not received any complaint calls. To address motorbikes and ATVs traveling on Bold Springs Road between his facility and Millsaps Training Facility, Woods said he had a gate between his property and MTF which he would man and keep open to keep those vehicles off the public road.