New commissioners tackle sensitive issues on agenda

January 23, 2013

Yesterday marked the first regular meeting of the Commissioners Court with both new commissioners present. Judging from the agenda, they likely earned their pay.

It was a full meeting schedule, with 14 items on the miscellaneous portion of the agenda.

The court was to determine which of two senior members would serve as county judge pro tem; whether to adjust salaries and job titles in one newly elected official’s office; and possible action on personnel matters related to the elections administrator.

Newly elected Precinct 1 Commissioner James Deaver and Precinct 3 Commissioner Jeff Tout were both at mandatory training when the first regular meeting of 2013 was held two weeks ago.

County Judge Darrell Cockerham said that some items were deliberately held back from that meeting in order to allow the new commissioners to be part of the decision-making process.

The position of county judge pro tem is supposed to be filled by the longest-serving commissioner, Cockerham said Monday. That person chairs meetings when the county judge cannot be present.

However, Precinct 2 Commissioner Dick Roan and Precinct 4 Commissioner Steve Berry were elected at the same time and neither is more senior than the other. Cockerham said Monday that the matter would be put to a vote.

Newly elected County Attorney Lori Kaspar requested that the court consider new job descriptions and salary adjustments for her staff. Such matters can sometimes be controversial among others in county government, due to the county’s strict policies that are designed to ensure fairness in salaries and promotions.

Commissioners also were slated to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters regarding the elections administrator.

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