Commissioner Ricky Burney read from a letter from the state’s Ethics Commission at Monday’s commission meeting.
There was “nothing in the complaint that would rise to the level of an ethics violation,” Burney read from the letter before adjourning Monday’s meeting.
Burney declined to provide a copy of the letter to The Star.
An thics complaint was filed in early December by Commissioner Terry Meek. He claimed that Burney’s sister-in-law was being paid by the county under her maiden name while drawing unemployment benefits. Meek has filled out paperwork to put the issue on the March meeting agenda.
Burney, as commission chairman, has final say as to whether the issue makes the agenda.
Complaints dominated both the regular meeting and the earlier planning meeting Monday morning.
Clay County resident Lester Bishop voiced his concern over the commission’s spending habits during the planning meeting. Tax money shouldn’t be spent on memberships to various associations for elected officials and travel to those associations’ meetings, he said. The commissioners, the probate judge and the sheriff, Bishop said, should pay their own dues and travel expenses.
He was not swayed when Commissioner Roy Johnson said the Alabama County Commission Association classes fulfill state ethics requirements or when Commissioner Wayne Watts told him commissioners are required by law to join the state county commission association.
“I just, as a taxpayer, do not feel this is right to take hard-earned tax money of this county and pay membership dues,” Bishop said from behind the lectern. “This money can be used for other things, like maybe a couple extra microphones, I have two hearing aids and can barely hear these.”
Tim Kerley, speaking for K&S Transportation, asked the commission to set guidelines for closing roads because of mud tracked onto the road by trucks. The county closed a road used by K&S trucks hauling scrap metal. The commission declined because regulations would diminish the county’s flexibility in dealing with truckers and loggers, said Commissioner Kevin Kiser.
In the regular meeting, Roseann Dettling spoke out about the condition of the dirt road by her house. She and other living along the road were stuck in their houses for nine days this winter and without mail for two weeks, Dettling said.
County engineer Brian Smith said that his crews are doing the best they can with about four motorgraders to work 375 miles of unpaved roads.
The commission also explored the idea of working with the Randolph County Animal Shelter. The commission asked Shinbone resident Marie Greeshon to come up with some plans for the two counties to work together after she spoke at the planning meeting.
Contact staff writer Jason Bacaj at 256-235-3546