911 dispatchers request transfer of benefits
The county commissioners met for their regular scheduled meeting Monday, during which they heard from OCCJA Executive Director Shannon Clark about the transfer of employee benefits from the previous 911 center to the OCCJA, who has since taken over the service.
“Since we are a separate and distinct entity from the county, there was not a break in their [employee] benefits as far as their retirement plan or their insurance plan,” Clark said. “However, everything else is new. They are new employees to the OCCJA.”
Clark said that when hiring people from the coun- ty in the past, they prorated employees sick time and vacation, and moved that time over so employees “weren’t starting over from zero.”
He added that an audit of the previous accounting is underway, in order to find out how much time “is true and relevant,” and noted “discrepancies” were preventing them from transferring that time adequately.
Clark said that, after discussions with the dispatchers, they’ve requested to separate from the county, receive benefit payouts from the county, and start over ‘fresh’ with the OCCJA.
Clark stated they want to make sure that it is fair to the employees.
The commissioners let them know that the matter would need to be discussed further.
— Changes to Open Records Requests
Commissioners also approved the adoption of a new open records request form.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Stidham stated this item arose, especially through the sheriff ’s office, and similar entities, after having been “bombarded” with open records requests.
The District Attorney’s office has checked with other counties and prepared a formal request form that would show who is making the request and what exactly they are requesting.
“We will obviously comply with the law, but we are also entitled to know who’s making the request so that we know it’s a valid request,” Stidham said..
Commissioner Erik Zoellner asked how this policy change would be made known to the public. Stidham stated a person requesting information via email would be sent the new request form to fill out. The document could be made accessible online through the county’s website.
The form states that “All Requests For Access To Public Records May Be Referred To The District Attorney To Ensure Compliance With State Law.”
Sheriff Eddy Rice stated that whenever they get a records request, the agency takes it to the D.A.’s office to look it over.
— Courthouse Construction
During Public Input, a representative of DO Construction requested $50,000 for the downpayment on the work being done to Courtroom 1.
The company is installing the new audio/visual equipment in the large courtroom. DO Construction is about 75 percent done with the work in Courtroom 1, but was still awaiting initial payment for the project.
The representative requested a $50,000 down payment so as to not “take the burden of all the equipment and labor.” He added that he initially requested $50,000, but was notified that he would be receiving around $73,000.
Commissioner David Walker asked where the $73,000 price came from. The representative replied that the total contract amount was a little over $85,000 and the commissioners were to pick up $73,000 of that.
“What we understood was the county was going to assist the court system in paying for it, because of the dollar amount,” he said, and noted that, based on an email, they submitted an invoice in March for the amount of $74,513.
“What I’m requesting now is at least the $50,000 down payment to cover my expenses,” he told the commissioners, adding that if the request was improper “someone would’ve brought it up as an objection before the final contract.”
After more discussion, Commissioner Walker said, “We’ll just put in to get a check cut for $50,000.”
The board stated they would look over the work in the courtroom after the meeting.
The balance remaining for the project would be $24,513.
Agenda items approved were:
• Minutes of the May 15 meeting
• Officers Reports from the Treasurer’s Office for March and April; and the Election Board for April.
• Blanket Purchase Orders: District to Cintas for uniforms as needed, $700, District 2 to RPI for parts and supplies as needed for $700, and to RPI for parts and supplies as needed for $1,000; District 3 to RPI for parts and supplies as needed for $800, and O’Reilly’s for parts and supplies for $600.
• Employee forms: A donation of sick leave from Jean Gouthier to Lawrence Tippin was approved.
• Utility Permit in District 1 with Rural Water District 6
• Private Property Agreement in District 1 with Nigel Bigpond to dispose of dirt.
• Transfer of Appropriation for $1,000 from Assessor’s Travel Account to Full-time Salaries.
The commissioners also approved a resolution to disburse 911 funds, meaning it would ‘zero out’ the 911 fund account to cut a check to the OCCJA who has since taken over that agency.
The commissioners also approved giving Guy Engineering the authority to execute paperwork for the Bristlecone Road Project. Commissioner Michael Wallace noted that some of the land this pertains to is owned by the Muscogee Nation and that Guy Engineering would need their approval as well.
Representatives from the Okmulgee County Health Department brought a proposed contract in for review. They are wanting to see if any changes need to be made to it prior to getting signatures. The contract is between the Okmulgee County Health Department, Ambler Architects, and Miller- Tippens Construction, who they are seeking to hire for remodeling services. No further action was taken at the time.
The commissioners also tabled discussions regarding a new contract between the Okmulgee County Health Department and the Office of Juvenile Affairs. This contract is regarding payments for the space that OJA is renting. The health department is asking that the contract be reviewed before obtaining signatures.