By DALE GRAHAM
The Cheatham County Commission met in regular session Monday night. John Paul Wood was absent.
Chairman John Haines was the sole nomination and thereby elected by acclamation to retain that seat for another year. The same was true for Vice Chair Donnie Jordan.
During the budget portion of the meeting it was time to vote on the School Board’s budget. Commissioner Dale McCarver had some questions about how the School Board balanced their budget. He pointed out that Director of Schools Stan Curtis, as part of his contract, receives full medical, dental and vision insurance for himself and his family. McCarver wanted to know if all full time employees had the same package as Curtis. He also pointed out that the school board was taking $300,000 from fund balance, to cover health insurance increases, which he saw as a recurring expense.
Jordan told him that insurance wasn’t necessarily a recurring expense, since it’s not a requirement that the school district provide it. “They could decide next year that, we’re just simply not going to offer it at all”, or lower the amount of coverage offered, Jordan said. McCarver disagreed.
Chairman Haines said, “Mr. McCarver, this body has absolutely nothing to do with the assembling of their budget, or how they shuffle the money around inside it”. He continued, “Our job is to take the budget that they bring to us and to make it work with the numbers that we have”.
McCarver disagreed, saying “If we’re going to vote on it, I want to fully understand it”.
Commissioner David Davidson pointed out that if the state comptroller sees anything wrong with the budget “they’ll rule on it and they’ll send it back”.
More questions came from commissioners about the school board’s budget. Anne Jarreau asked about new positions being funded. Dr. Curtis said that there was a new Grant Writer/Public Relations position, as well as a new Technology position. McCarver stated that for the money Dr. Curtis is making, he should be the one communicating about the District, and told about a phone call he received from a local news station producer, who was calling McCarver trying to figure out how to get in touch with Dr. Curtis. “It galls me”, McCarver said, “and he thinks we’ve got to pay somebody else to go out and promote Cheatham County Schools. What are we paying him for?”
When the roll was called, the commission voted 10 yes, 1 abstain, (McCarver) and 1 absent. After the vote School Board Chair Michele Collins spoke to the commission saying that the Grant Writer/PR position was something the Board has discussed for years, and that it was not driven by Curtis.
The commission then voted unanimously to approve the School Districts Central Cafeteria Budget.
The commission voted unanimously to support the “It Can Wait National Day of Action” and the “Nationwide No-texting-while-driving movement”.
Mike Rayburn was the approved as the new maintenance director.
Former Roads Superintendent Jerry Carney was honored for his 24 years of service to the county. Carney retired last year.
On October 19th at 2:00 a bridge on Highway 12 N over Dry Fork Creek will be dedicated in honor of former longtime Cheatham County Sherriff Doris Weakley.
The Cheatham County Commission meets the third Monday of each month at 7p.m. in the General Sessions Courtroom in Ashland City.