County meets for retreat

Polk County Commissioners examine issues on a number of projects during their recent retreat session.

Kevin Myrick/SJ

A long list of items in a meeting that took more than three hours to finish provided new Polk County Commissioners with an idea of what is going on in a variety of areas, and the need for additional answers and timelines of completion were called for through a marathon board retreat.

Commissioners got down to business during the night with a laundry list of items to cover, ranging from a plan to change the county's retirement policy to ensuring that commissioners are being kept up to date on upcoming events so they can participate.

Some of the items on that long list of topics will require further discussion in the future since County Manager Matt Denton is now once again taking on a bulk of the responsibility since assistant county manager Barry Akinson suddenly left his role with the administration this month.

Many of the items Denton brought up to provide information to the board he left with unanswered questions about their progress, since he had assigned Akinson those projects to accomplish.

He promised commissioners to get in touch with Akinson to see if he could get more information about where some of those projects stood.

For Denton's part, the departure of Akinson was unexpected and will require him to refocus his efforts to hiring a new Assistant County Manager starting in 2018 after the holidays are over. Denton said Akinson left for personal reasons. "He had some family issues he needed to deal with out of state, so he thought it would be better and more fair for everyone to resign, deal with the matters that he had to deal with," Denton said.

Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey wanted answers on a task that Denton also delegated out to be completed in the past months and still hasn't yet: purchase and installation of a new security camera system at the Polk County Courthouses in Cedartown.

Not all of those items without answers were items being handled by Akinson. One in particular that Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey wanted answers on involves courthouse security cam eras, an issue brought up many months before but no forward movement has been taken.

It was one of many that had Hulsey repeating "what is the deadline on this project?"

She called for clear deadlines to be established on projects to ensure they are getting done in a timely fashion, and commissioners aren't being left with answers as to why projects large or small haven't been finished.

Denton might not have had all the answers to the variety of topics brought up during the retreat, but he and commissioners did settle one particular item of note: committee meetings will be returning.

Commissioners Hal Floyd, Jose Iglesias, Scotty Tillery and Hulsey also echoed a sentiment that has been ongoing this year: much of the work that needs to be completed on many smaller projects during the retreat discussion can be handled in committee work, and should be.

Floyd specifically called for more of these issues to be handled on the departmental level or during committee meetings to avoid having to bring up issues like jail lighting fixtures before the board when he pointed to more pressing issues needing to be handled.

Editor's note: With the large number of items brought up during the retreat, several stories have been written to cover some of the more important among them. Find more thorough items on the Polk County Landfill, county employee retirement and more within this week's edition.