County recognizes Leonard’s achievement

Gordon County Commissioner Chad Steward, left, presents the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to County Finance Director Al Leonard.

Gordon County Finance Department Director Al Leonard was recognized at the Tuesday, July 18 meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners for receiving the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for Gordon County’s comprehensive annual financial report.

This is the 12th year that Leonard has received the Certificate of Achievement, the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

Also at the meeting, the Board received a report from Jonathan Ray, director of North Georgia Community Action, Inc. Ray was addressing concerns from the public that the Board has received concerning the Section 5311 Van Program. The program is up for contract renewal for the 2017/2018 Fiscal Year.

“Citizens have raised questions about the services being provided, so we wanted to give them a chance to explain their services,” said County Attorney Jim Ledbetter.

Ray explained the program to the Board as being rural transportation for the elderly and those that have special needs. “The program operates under the 5311 Title under FTA, which is the Rural Transportation Program. Basically, that is facilitated by the Georgia Department of Transportation at the local level and then it’s passed down to local county administrations to administer the Rural Transportation Services. What the 5311 Program seeks to do, is to have a form of county-wide transportation in what the state sees as a rural setting.”

According to Ray, what is operated in Gordon County is a five day a week service, from 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., where citizens call in, schedule transportation and the transportation is executed.

Citizens have previously made complaints on the transportation service due to the lack of being able to make transportation appointments after 3 - 3:30 p.m. and the difficulty of scheduling those appointments.

The problem with the contract presented to the Board by North Georgia Community Action, Inc. is that it lists operations hours from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day of operation, but service is actually cut off by 3:30 p.m. each day to perform vehicle inspections and various other duties.

“I think that’s a little misleading for the people trying to make an appointment, because they are assuming that you are going to run until that time and if that’s not so, then I think that somehow, the wording (in the contract) needs to be changed on hours of pickup,” said Commissioner Norris Sexton. “I believe that is what is causing a lot of the confusion we are hearing about.”

Not wanting to misrepresent the public, the Board will review the contract and make changes as necessary before moving forward with renewal.

Also at the meeting, the Commissioners passed a resolution for Imposition of 2018 SPLOST; re-appointed Kenny Padgett and David Mitchell to three-year terms to the Gordon County Historic Preservation Committee and approved service provider agreements for Winner’s Club, City Schools Nurse Program, County Schools Nurse Program, Prevent Child Abuse Gordon County, Hand Up, Inc. VAC and the Arts Council.

The next meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at the Gordon County Administration Building, located on North Wall Street in downtown Calhoun.