Amendment Riddled Special Called Meeting Ends In Pass To Worksession

Jefferson County Commissioners met this week in a Special Called Meeting to address a handful of general housekeeping items, as well as a time sensitive budget amendment for the Department of Education that addressed federal funds for an intensive summer program that is designed to catch students up that have fallen behind during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Also on the agenda, and the source of the majority of discussion, was a third request from Commissioner Thomas to address funding for a new Jefferson Elementary School building program.

The funding of a new school or renovation of the present elementary school has been the topic of extensive discussion at two previous commission meetings where Thomas has twice brought a motion to fund the project at the $20 million dollar mark. The majority of the commission declined to fund both the original motion and the revisited motion. Thomas and Commissioner Huffaker offered a motion to form a committee that would bring back a recommendation regarding funding for Jefferson Elementary School. In her motion Thomas stated that 2 county commissioner ( herself and Byrd), two school board members, the Jefferson County Finance Director, Jefferson County Director of Schools and the Jefferson County Mayor would comprise the committee. The Thomas motion was amended by Commissioner Carmichael to send the item to the next work session of the county commission for discussion. Carmichael’s amendment was 2nd by Commissioner Douglas and passed 11-7 with Commissioners Walker, Eslinger and Dockery absent. Commissioner Scarlett then offered an amendment to the amended motion that would require a special called meeting following the June work session to take action on the work session discussion. The amendment to the amended motion failed in a tie vote. Also offering an amendment to the amended motion were Commissioners Reed and Kesterson who offered an amendment that would move the item to the July meeting to avoid conflicting with budget discussions. That amendment vote was 10-8 but failed due to lack of a majority of the commission ( 11) vote. The amended motion ( moved to June work session) passed on an 12-6 margin.

Source: K. Depew, News Director