County Commission in mood to table or defer resolutions

Gary B. Gray • Feb 25, 2014 at 8:53 AM

An unusually brief Washington County Commission meeting Monday resulted in three resolutions being either deferred or tabled.

Commissioners considered a resolution from the Public Safety Committee requesting state legislators who represent the county sponsor a private act in the General Assembly establishing registration procedures for door-to-door sales.

Sheriff Ed Graybeal told commissioners there has been an increase in door-to-door solicitation that pose “a growing threat of abusive techniques.”

He cited a few examples, including a van full of people that had stopped in a certain area and unloaded a number of people who knocked on doors soliciting services, such as painting and asphalt sealing that did not hold up.

Committee members said it was in the best interest of the county to require that people offering services be registered and show identification.

“Would this apply to campaigning?” Commissioner Lee Chase inquired.

Following a spontaneous round of laughter, Keith Bowers, the county’s interim legal counsel, explained that the request stemmed from people passing through and using intimidation to make sales.

Commissioner Alpha Bridger said the resolution “came out of left field” and that it should be sent back to committee to be condensed. She also said the requirements may be infringements on peoples’ rights.

“I think what we’re trying to do is very noble,” Commissioner Mitch Meredith said. “But it’s my understanding the window has closed to make this a private act before the end of this legislative session.

The resolution was sent back to committee.

Commissioners also considered a resolution recommended by the Legal Oversight Committee to set the annual salary range of the next full-time county attorney from $110,000 to $140,000.

Commission Chairman Greg Matherly said the range was meant to attract a “senior” attorney, not a “staff” attorney.

“I can think of people that qualify as senior attorneys, and they wouldn’t work for us for that amount,”

Commissioner David Tomita said. “I don’t know we have to specify a salary at all. Senior attorneys in private practice are making a whole lot more than that.”

Bowers, who is a candidate for the Carter County Sessions Court Judge position in the May 6 Republican Primary, told commissioners they already had a “great” legal staff. However, he recommended the county hire a full-time attorney rather than a part-time attorney if commissioners wanted legal counsel at every committee meeting.

The resolution was tabled.

Meanwhile, a resolution to appoint a second Washington County Commissioner to the Washington County Economic Development Council board apparently was introduced at the wrong time. Greg Matherly, the only county commissioner currently serving on the board, told commissioners the resolution was put on the agenda “prematurely.”

The resolution was sent back to the Cultural, Industrial and Agricultural Committee, from which recommendations are expected.

County Commissioners will meet again at 6 p.m. March 24 in the George Jaynes Justice Center.

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