Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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This online news website is owned and operated by Becky Watts. The Editor can be reached at 770-468-7583 or at editor(at)PikeCountyTimes(dot)com. Pike County Times is a website for citizens to keep up with local events and stay informed about Pike County government. It began on November 13, 2006 as a watchdog on county government and has turned into an online newspaper.

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Here is a photo of the intersection at Hwy 18 and Hill Street. If you've ever driven this stretch of road and a car was sitting there waiting to get on the highway, it can look like the car is on the wrong side of the road.

It is always a pleasure to honor our retired educators in our community.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 – 6:30 p.m.
Courthouse, Main Courtroom, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia

www.pikecoga.com/novusagenda has an online agenda and accompanying information for this meeting. Monthly information from Animal Control, Coroner, Fire Department, Grady, Library, Magistrate Court, McIntosh Trail CSB, Planning & Development, Registrar, Superior - Juvenile Court, Tax Assessor, and the Water Authority are included as well during the morning meeting only.

All 5 commissioners were present with Commissioners Jenkins and Guy by Zoom as well as County Clerk Angela Blount, County Manager (CM) Brandon Rogers, and County Attorney Rob Morton.

1. CALL TO ORDER .................................................................................... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION……………………………………………………………………….…...Ben Maxedon

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE ................................................................... Chairman J. Briar Johnson

4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - (O.C.G A. § 50-14-1 (e) (1))

5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES - (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e) (2))

a. Minutes of the September 9, 2021, Regular Monthly Meeting.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.



a. Monthly Reports submitted from County Departments and County Authorities, including a Revenue/Expenditure Statement for all departments and a summary check register. There are no Department reports as they will be provided during the first Board meeting in October. Revenue/Expenditure Statement and Detail Check Register is included.


b. County Manager Report

Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund ........................................................................................ …$2,535,067.22
Fire Dept. Donations ........................................................................................ $6,420.16
Cash Reserve Account ....................................................................... …......$307,597.29
Jail Fund ........................................................................................................ $35,652.18
E-911 Fund .................................................................................................. $158,858.53
DATE Fund ................................................................................................... $46,856.08
Juvenile Court Fund ....................................................................................... $12,298.33
Residential Impact Fee ............................................................................. $1,078,663.68
Commercial Impact Fees ............................................................................. $179,958.30
C.A.I.P FUND ............................................................................................... $38,232.63
General Obligation SPLOST Tax Bond Sinking Fund, 2016 .................... ..$392,872.25
L.M.IG. Grant (DOT)………………………………….…………………….$48,025.93

c. County Manager Comment

Letters re: water and broadband

The office has been receiving letters about water and broadband infrastructure. We’ll be filing for the grant soon and need them for expansion of services.

Hilltop update

The leveling part of the project was finished yesterday. They clipped the shoulders back so we’ll have to fix that, but some of the improvements were on 1st Steet and asphalt topping will start tomorrow. If the weather continues to hold, there will be about 7 working days out there by Public Works and the striping crew can finish it up.

Property by the Concord Fire Station

He’s been approached about selling property at the Concord Fire Station Headquarters. It was given to the county by Concord. There is a station in state law that says they can exchange without a penalty, but state law says that it must be sold if we ever get rid of it. We don’t have any plans for this but have a possibility for expanding headquarters with the intention of drive thru bays or sleeping quarters for a full-time fire department. PCFD is concerned about parking already and where to conduct training at so this also needs to be taken into consideration. This citizen asking for the sale has bought an adjoining property and their second driveway is actually on county property. They are wanting to make an easier turn to their house. They bought another parcel on the other side and want to combine all 3 lots. What does the Board want to do?

Tim Guy asked if we did not sell, could they continue using it? CM Rogers said that they could continue to use that if the Board gave approval because we have no plans for the property at this point.

Briar Johnson asked about the longevity of them using it and tenure to have a hold on the property. CM Rogers said that they could notify them that there are no plans to block them from using our property at this time, maybe an agreement signed, etc.

Motion to let Mrs. Cherry Thomas speak. Approved 5-0. If you by there, Steve Reeves has put some red stakes up to show where she was wanting to buy it. She doesn’t know how this ended up like this. The driveway has been in use for years. The house on the other side is sitting on the property line. She is only looking for a small part of this property and not the whole thing. She said that there is a power pole there but that she didn’t think that it would affect the fire trucks if they went straight through. Chairman Briar Johnson said that the FD is worried about having enough room for parking.

Motion to hold onto the property at this time with something in writing to continue to let Mrs. Thomas use the drive. Discussion that she will be able to use the drive. Mentioned a law about not being able to close the drive by state law. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: This is the first in a series of several short discussions and votes on matters that probably should have been advertised to the public on the agenda. A true emergency is something that came up last minute before the meeting without time to properly advertise the item on the agenda that goes out on the preceding Friday afternoon. Let me be clear that true emergencies ARE legal to be discussed and voted upon, but how many of these were true emergencies? And how often is this happening? Time for a history lesson that still applies today. For those who do not know, the county was sued for open meetings violations (among other things) and ordered to “establish and maintain a practice of posting agendas for all public meetings” as well as ensuring that the agendas “will reasonably and accurately identify the matters expected to be at the public meeting” in order to ensure that the public would be informed of the “true topics expected to be discussed” at the meetings. In the Consent Interlocutory Order issued by the Superior Court of Pike County in January of 2004, the county also had to pay $34,000 in attorney’s fees to the opposing counsel. In April of 2005, the county paid the same opposing counsel $27,649.62 for a second lawsuit that contained some of the same complaints that were supposed to have been settled in early 2004. This consent order again discussed meeting agendas and ordered the Board to "specifically and accurately identify all matters that are reasonably expected to come before the Board for discussion, consideration, or action." This Consent Order is still in effect today. That 2005 Consent Order publicly acknowledged that the Board had "committed violations of the Georgia Open Meetings Act and that the Board will hereafter pursue a policy of open government where the business of the Pike County Board of Commissioners and Pike County governmental agencies will be discussed and voted upon in public." As a watchdog for the county commission since long before my newspaper started in 2006, I am obligated to point this out and ask that this practice of adding items without proper advertisement to the County Manager report cease immediately. And no, I was not party to the lawsuit, but I watched as the county lost not once but twice because the county was not doing right. Let's learn from past mistakes without repeating them please. ADDED 11.17.21: Thankfully, this hasn't been as much of a problem since this meeting date.]

Restriping requests

Received restriping requests for safety concerns. Chapman and Hughley Roads. It is severely faded with parts of it completely gone. Maybe use some SPLOST funds. $4,000 for Chapman. Hughley shouldn’t be more than about half of that because of the length. It shouldn’t more than $6,000 total. We don’t have the capability to do this. Citizens brought this to the commissioners’ attention. Motion to approve SPLOST funds for the restriping of both roads. Approved 5-0.

Director of the Pike Senior Center

Motion to appoint Lavetrece Walker as the Director of the Pike Senior Center. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0. [Note from the Editor: This is one of the five interviews that took place during the Executive Session of the 8.31.21 commission meeting.]

Funding for Concord SPLOST Project

Approached by the City of Concord. They have funding from SPLOST. The Mayor would like to pave Hill Street on the Concord side. Our portion would run to the city line. They would pay for their portion (about $50,000) and we pay for $70,000 for our portion. The DOT has been contacted about the intersection at Hwy 18 and Hill Street. We haven’t heard back from them yet because it is one of the most dangerous intersections in the county. Maybe hear something next week. If we are going to be there anyway, we might as go ahead and finish the job while we are there. CM Rogers will have an answer from the DOT before the county starts on this.

Can we fix this intersection ourselves? This has been presented to the DOT multiple times, and they haven’t done anything. How can we do this ourselves. Can we widen the intersection to make is 90 degree angle to see both ways, but the actual exit off of Hwy 18 be the same as it is now. Like Morgan Dairy and Hwy 36.

Motion to approve the $70,000 out of SPLOST to pay our portion of Hill Street. Discussion: Will that include the intersection upgrade if needed? Yes. Hopefully the DOT will handle this, but the cost is included if we have to do this. Approved 5-0. [Note from the Editor: I applaud the CM for the amount of time that goes into finding out answers like this and for working with cities in our county. My only complaint is being transparent with our agendas. Any anyone traveling down Hwy 18 to Concord at night at this intersection who have seen headlights pointed on what looked like the wrong side of the road will all be applauding this change!]

Rosehill Road

The last road named on the 2016 SPLOST was Rosehill Road. When we finish Concord, Todd Goolsby has asked if we can start on the repaving of this road. About $200,000 to complete this. Just the Mountain View side. We already have the money in SPLOST? Motion to use SPLOST funds on this project. Approved 5-0.

d. Commissioner Reports

Jason Proctor thanked Mark Camp for his work on the event at Chestnut Oak this weekend.

James Jenkins mentioned an email about participation on October 30 in Williamson.

Briar Johnson said that the rodeo was well done.

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners - None



a. Consider one appointment to the Pike County Animal Shelter Advisory Board. Applicant has met criteria.

Susan Boggs of Williamson. CM recommended approval. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0. She is present.

b. Consider request from Stephen Brentlinger to use the Courthouse lawn and sidewalks for the Pike County Christmas Festival and Parade on Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

We already have permission to close Jackson Street. This is simply so we can put out booths ahead of time for activities. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

Click here for vendor and parade participant applications.

c. Approve/deny for Chairman Johnson to sign the proclamation honoring Sunday, November 7, 2021 as Retired Educators Day in Georgia.

Motion to approve. Approved 5-0. Chairman Johnson signed it and read it aloud.

d. Appoint County Voting Delegate for the ACCG 2021 Business Session to adopt the Policy Agenda.

The person will vote for board members on November 13. Motion to appoint Tim Daniel to be the delegate at the conference. Approved 4-0-1 with Daniel abstaining.

e. Discussion of changes to the Pike County ACCG Defined Benefits.

[Note from the Editor: Pike County Times received a emailed letter on the afternoon of the meeting regarding the 36 hour issue with the county manager. News outlets received it as well as the commissioners since Ben Maxedon, Patricia's husband, could not attend the meeting due to sickness. (There are numerous open records requests included in this investigation.) Maxedon outlined problems that he and his wife have had trying to get information about whether she would even qualify for this retirement plan since May when it was adopted. More to that in a moment. History is needed to understand why Ben Maxedon was angry enough to address the commissioners on his wife's behalf.

Let's start at the beginning because all of this applies to the meeting. This discussion is part of an ongoing discussion from April and May where County Manger Rogers made a change regarding time sheets for the entire county--including elected officials who are NOT directly under the authority of the County Manager--and is in direct opposition to Maxedon's boss who is the Tax Commissioner for Pike County and is elected directly by the citizens of Pike County. The May 4, 2021 letter from Tax Commissioner Donna Chapman addressed changes to her April 12-25, 2021 time sheet made by an employee of the commission office at the direction of the County Manager. Tax Commissioner Chapman's time sheet read "salaried" and zero hours filled out as she has done for years. She received an email from an employee of the Commissioner's Office that her time sheet had been changed to reflect that she had worked 80 hours. "Due to this brazenly inappropriate action on behalf of the Commissioner's Office, I feel it is necessary to remind you all of the basic county government structure per the Georgia Constitution." She went on to cite that Article IX, Section 1, Paragraph 3 states that four elected positions of Clerk of Superior Court, Judge of Probate Court, Sheriff, and Tax Commissioner are elected positions with powers and duties created by general law and a compensation set by the General Assembly. Because of this, she states, constitutional officers in the county get their authority and power from the Georgia Constitution and do not fall under the control of the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners (BOC) sets their budgets, but the BOC is also required to provide each constitutional officer with the funding that is necessary to perform the duties required by the State of Georgia. Click here to read this section. She completed the section on her timesheet by saying, "I have no intention of listing hours on a time sheet because you are obligated to pay me a set compensation regardless of the hours I work. I will not be regulated by your office. If changes are made to my time sheet again, I will seek legal counsel to remedy them." She then went on to address the fact that as a Constitutional Officer, she has the "right to hire, fire, and set salaries and/or hours" for her employees. She reiterated that the BOC sets the annual budget for her department, but she has the authority to hire an outside company to do payroll for her office if these problems persist. She ended that section by saying that she has "always worked tirelessly to maintain a low budget for Pike County's citizens but that she "will also work tirelessly to uphold the Georgia Constitution." In closing, she pointed out that she is in her 7th term as Tax Commissioner and has always worked to have a good working relationship with the BOC, other Constitutional officers, and other department heads in the county, and she plans to continue doing this as well as "protecting the fact that I answer to the people and the people only." She ended by saying that she would be happy to set up a time to discuss this further with CM Rogers if needed.

CM Rogers replied by email to Tax Commissioner Donna Chapman on the same day with a CC to the payroll employee, the county attorney, and all five commissioners. This is verbatim from start to finish: "Donna, I'm hesitant to respond to your email because it seems that you are upset, and I don't want this to be taken out of context, however I feel that not responding could also be misunderstood. Please take this for what it is, as an explanation not an attack. I think that you have the wrong idea of what we are trying to accomplish and it bothers me that rather than reach out to me you think that you have to send a threatening letter, I thought we had a better understanding of each other. We just want consistency between all the depts, that's all we were asking for. When we are processing payroll for 19+ depts and each one is different it causes a tremendous headache and slows down the process."

A letter was written by Patricia Maxedon to the CM Rogers on September 16, 2021 which noted that she has worked for the county for 30 years and plans to retire in the next few months. She said that it has "proven very challenging" to try to get information on this new retirement policy and that there is language contained in it that seems to be directed at her that would exclude her eligibility. She pointed out that she has been working 32 hours a week for the past few months with the approval of the Tax Commissioner, which means that she is a full-time employee. She specifically asked, "Will I be included under the new policy with full benefits, or will you deny my eligibility?" And then she gave him seven days to respond in writing so she and her husband could make plans for her retirement.

CM Rogers' response, dated September 20, 2021, advised that he and the Board of Commissioners are still working out the details of the official plan and that it has not been signed but that he hopes to have answers at the next monthly meeting. "For this reason, I cannot say with any guarantee of your eligibility in the new retirement benefit plan." He did note that it was his opinion that commissioners had every intent to include "every full-time employee" that works in the county including those who work for Constitutional Officers and Elected Officials, but he then said: "In response to your statement of being a full-time employee by the authority and approval of the Tax Commissioner, it is further my opinion that this approval by the Tax Commissioner will not be a basis for your eligibility in the benefit. This retirement benefit is being offered by the Board of Commissioners, and has its own requirements that must be met. My opinion is that anytime you have served in what the Board of Commissioners determines to be a part-time capacity (less than 36 hours per week) would only qualify you for vesting service and not all to your credited years served..." [Editor Note: In other words, she would get credit for the year toward vesting but not toward retirement because that year is under the 36 hours per week as is required by the commissioners in this policy.]

Ben Maxedon actually wrote two letters to the Commissioners regarding CM Rogers. The first is important because it is referenced in the second. The first was a complaint sent on June 2, 2021 regarding a conversation between him and CM Rogers regarding a "serious public safety issue" on Kings Bridge Road that he felt needed to be addressed. Maxedon sent a message to his commissioner, Jason Proctor, and Proctor forwarded the message to CM Rogers who called Maxedon. The issue at hand was road work on Kings Bridge Road that left drivers going from asphalt to loose gravel with a drop off on the edges of the asphalt which could cause an accident. He felt that there should be signs there to warn citizens about the change in the road. [Editor Note: I contacted the BOC office and Public Works on this as well because of the concerns of several people. I was advised that signs had been put out but that someone from the public had removed the signs. Public Works was very professional when speaking to me.] Maxedon complained to CM Rogers, the county attorney and all five commissioners that he felt like CM Rogers had spoken to him with an attitude that was "dismissive, unprofessional, and demeaning" and felt like his concerns about safety had been dismissed. "Your whole attitude left me feeling like you did not need any interaction with the public because you knew what you were doing." He stated that he has family members who travel that road on a daily basis and took it as a personal insult that he was "so callous" about the matter. Maxedon ended his letter by saying, "In the position of County Manager, you must listen to the public with an open mind, not that you have to do what they say, but you must be a "good customer service rep." (sic) for the county, which in this case you failed utterly."

Now to the letter that was sent on the afternoon of the commission meeting. The opening to the document entitled "Note for the Commissioners Meeting began as follows: Ben Maxedon, Patricia Maxedon's husband, advised that he could not attend due to illness, but that he wanted to get information to the commissioners before they made any decisions about the retirement policy. "My comments are a mixture of the policy and how I believe it is being used against my wife." He also said that he thinks it is time that everyone was aware of the policy and how it has been "handled and mishandled" over the past four months. His notes began by thanking the commissioners for offering a retirement plan that will help develop a more stable employee base and help with retention as well as financially helping the county in the long run. He told commissioners that he wanted to register his concerns about the process including the lack of information and misinformation in regard to the policy and said that he was going to point out issues that needed to be addressed including a policy that was thought to have been adopted in May with some information being given to employees that turned out not to be true. He advised that he had been trying to obtain accurate information on the policy for four months and that had been an "almost impossible task" as well as some parts of the policy being detrimental to some county employees. A conversation with the county manager was "fruitless and misleading" with Maxedon being told that the policy was sent back to the county attorney five times, and it still wasn't correct. He said that the letter from the county manager to his wife did not provide answers because the official policy had not been signed so there were no official answers. However, he said that the county attorney did send him copies of the policy last week even though he had been told that they were not available by the county manager. Maxedon then went into the meat of his complaint saying that he believes that CM Rogers "has exceeded his authority regarding Constitutional Officers by usurping their authority to manage their offices." He said that CM Rogers is forcing these officers to follow his rules or their employees "will be punished" and that his actions are creating a "hostile work environment." He also referenced a challenge to the Tax Commissioner's authority months earlier when the county manager had conversations with the Tax Commissioner Chapman in regard to his wife Patricia working a 32 hour week as full-time and said that CM Rogers was upset that he could not force Chapman to follow county policy for a 36 hour work week. Ben Maxedon pointed out that his wife has worked for the county for 31 years (as of November) and that all of those years have been full-time and that as the Deputy Tax Commissioner, she has often worked "far more than 40 hours a week, much of which is uncompensated." He said that he saw two issues that were directly affecting his wife receiving her benefits. The first is that she was required to be 65 before she could draw her pay and that she is being called part-time. He specifically said that the county manager knew that Patricia's eligibility was in danger because the county considered her part-time according to the 36 hour per week mandate in the policy and said that Rogers refused to tell him. He believed that this was a "vindictive act" that went back to the complaint that he filed against the county manager in June. He said that he asked his commissioner, Jason Proctor, for help getting information, and the information given to Proctor to give to him was "more misinformation." Maxedon also made a suggestion that future policies be finalized before the county manager or anyone else give out information on them if these policies are subject to change. He ended his letter by informing commissioners that Patricia will retire at the end of the year, that it would be nice to know whether she would receive benefits for her 31 years of service as well as knowing what those benefits will be, and that the truth would come out one day about why is being treated like this. "I pray that this Board will grant Patricia the benefits she has earned and the respect she deserves."

CM Rogers made changes up to right before the meeting. He advised Pike County Times that a meeting was even held with department heads that afternoon in order to hammer out necessary changes. Ryan Reynolds from ACCG was present for questions at both the afternoon meeting and the evening BOC meeting.

[Note from the Editor: This section is verbatim from the BOC Post Agenda.
Section 1.23 Employee
• Working for the Employer at least thirty-six (36) hours of service per week for compensation.
• Other Definitions:
(1) Employee includes anyone working for the Sheriff, Clerk of Superior Court, Tax Commissioner, Probate Judge, and Chief Magistrate.
(2) The Tax Assessor, and his/her employees shall also be considered eligible, as well as employees of the Recreation Department to include the Director. Additionally, William Pitts whom works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service shall be eligible.
(3) Employees working for the Sheriff are considered Public Safety.
(4) Patricia Maxedon working for the Tax Commissioner will be considered a full-time employee for the purpose of this benefit.
• To include Magistrate Judge, Daphne Martin.
• To include Clerk of Superior Court, Pam Thompson
• To include Employees of the Tax Commissioner (hired before 7/1/2012)
• To include Tax Commissioner (hired on or after 7/1/2012) if not participating in the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia.
• To include Employees of Tax Commissioner (hired on or after 7/1/2012) if not participating in the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia.

Section 1.26 Employer
• Other Definition: (1) Employee includes anyone working for the Sheriff, Clerk of Superior Court, Tax Commissioner, Probate Judge, and Chief Magistrate. (2) The employees of the Board of Assessors shall also be considered eligible, as well as employees of the Recreation Department to include the Director. Additionally, William Pitts whom works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service shall be eligible. (3) Employees working for the Sheriff are considered Public Safety. (4) Patricia Maxedon working for the Tax Commissioner will be considered a full-time employee for the purpose of this benefit.

Section 6.02 Eligibility for Early Retirement Pension
For Unreduced Early Retirement Pension for Public Safety Only
The later of the date:
• The Participant attains fifty-five (55) years of age.
• The Participant completes ten (10) years of Vesting Service.
End of copy

CM Rogers Talked to constitutional officers and clarified who the employee and employers are. The Tax Assessor works for the Board of Assessors, William Pitts works for NRCS and the county, and employees for the Sheriff are clarified as Public Safety, Patricia Maxedon is listed specifically regardless of her currently hourly status. Chief Magistrate and Magistrate Judge included. Same with Superior Court Clerk who worked for the county for 19 years. Tax Commissioner and Tax Commissioners’ Office are now included. Early retirement pension was discussed for public safety. 55 and 10 years vested.

Commissioner Jenkins pointed out the county is mandating the hours that employees work under Constitutional officers. CM Rogers said that if their employees want to qualify for this, they have to work 36 hours to qualify. [Note from the Editor: State and federal guidelines specifically say that 30 hours is full-time.]

Jenkins, speaking of full-time hours then asked, Why 36 hours? CM Rogers said that he recommends to leave it because we are paying 100% of the premium for this benefit and that citizens deserve to get 36 hours of service from these employees. Rogers said that this concern may have come up because of a part-time employee may be left out [Note from the Editor: That would be Patricia Maxedon], but he said that is not the case. Commissioner Daniel disagreed and said that we can’t mandate Constitutional officers to go by 36 hours for full-time employees.

County Attorney Rob Morton clarified that if a new employee comes in and works only 32 hours a week but is classified as full-time, that employee wouldn’t qualify for benefits. The question was asked if this is correct of the guy at ACCG, and the Board was advised that a 32 hour employee would NOT qualify--even if they were classified as full-time by a Constitutional officer. Commissioners were concerned about crossing the line.

Jenkins made a motion to leave the 36 hours out. Daniel gave the second. Discussion: Remove line about Patricia Maxedon if the 36 hours is removed because she qualifies as full-time according to the Tax Commissioner. Motion to approve all the yellow highlighted changes with the removal of 36 hours of service. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: So it appears to me that the commissioners knew that there was an issue here that should not have been allowed to fester for months and come to a showdown at the commission meeting. Furthermore, there also seems to be a power struggle of sorts here that showed up not once but twice between the county manager and not one but two different constitutional officers in this one meeting. It makes me wonder if there are other issues with department heads in the county. IF that is the case, we will start losing good employees because they will not stay in employment in a county where they feel like they are unappreciated or bullied in any way, shape, or form. (That includes gaslighting.) Only time will tell if this is the case. In my opinion, (yes, this is an Editor's note so I can do that) we need to all be working together for the common good of our county. 20 years of watching the inner workings of our county and sitting in county commission meetings has me uneasy as I watch interactions like this at meetings and then get Open Records that confirm my uneasiness. The commissioners are in charge and have the authority to ensure that rules are followed and that those who act inappropriately are written up for it so there is a hard copy to document what may turn out to be an ongoing situation in case disciplinary action is needed later. I hope that I'm wrong, but I'm a realist as well as an idealist.]

f. Approve/deny private road name for Duffey Family Subdivision.

This was approved back in November of 2020. The road name wasn’t chosen then, but it has been now. There are no conflicts and is recommended for approval. The applicant wants to get a building permit but needs a road name for that. Lauder Road is the name for this road off of Roberts Quarters. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

g. Approve/deny First Reading of Text Amendment to Title III: Administration, Chapter 36 Personnel Policy, Section 36.36 On-Call Status.

Add Animal Control to this because of on call status so it will be the same as Building and Grounds. This is the first reading. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

h. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding SE-21-09. Joseph Gosman, owner, and Ashlee Fennell, applicant are requesting permission via special exception to operate a general home occupation located at 19556 Highway 18, Zebulon, GA 30295. It is located in Land Lot 132 in the 8th Land District of Pike County and is further identified as Parcel ID: 091-004F. It consists of 23.55 acres of land and has approximately 686 feet of frontage along GA Hwy 18. The nature of the proposed general home occupation is a pet grooming spa. Commission District: District 1. Commissioner: Tim Daniel.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Approved by the Board of Appeals and they recommended approval with the following stipulations: annual business license required and signage must abide by our code.

No one spoke.

Motion to approve with stipulations. Approved 5-0.

i. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input regarding REZ-21-03- McLeRoy Rentals LLC, owner and applicant are requesting to rezone the property located on the west side of Highway 41 South, Griffin GA 30224. The subject property has 75.02 +/-acres and is located in Landlot 136 in the 2nd Land District of Pike County. It is further defined as parcel ID: 086-052. Applicant and owner are requesting the property be rezoned from A-R, Agricultural-Residential to C-3, Heavy Commercial in preparation to construct a mixture of retail, office warehouse buildings, mini warehouse/self-storage in Phase 1 on approximately 6.5 acres and reserving the rest for future development. Commission District: District 3rd. Commissioner District: Jason Proctor. FEMA Data: Does not lie within the flood zone.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

It is consistent with our land use map. The Planning Commission recently heard this and gave stipulations include a separate application for each section, to abide by the overlay regulations, and have a 50 foot buffer.

Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Gilbert and his staff want this to come back before the commissioners for each phase because we only know what they want to do with the first 6.5 acres. Staff wanted the entire site (the entire 75 acres) to go by the overlay district requirements.


Dee McLeroy said that the front would be like Pike Plaza with small storefronts and a mini-storage complex. He asked for consideration on the 400 feet and was concerned about being held to a higher standard than what is in the ordinance. [Note from the Editor: This is in reference to the entire site being held to the Overlay Ordinance even if it is outside of the regulated area requirements which really isn't necessary and is not what is being done in other places.]


Discussion: What is the overlay requirement? Building facing the highway has to be masonry or stone and a combination of specific materials. Landscaping requirements on Hwy 41 and in the parking lot. 400 feet from the center line of the street each way. We would add some additional standards. County Attorney Rob Morton said that the overlay doesn’t deal with the property in phases so it can be indicated as necessary. If some criteria don’t apply later on, it can be addressed then because this will be done in phases.

Jenkins. What is the height limit on the first 400 feet? 6 stories for a C3. Questions about fire department, etc.

If we rezone the whole piece to C3 with no conditions, they would not have to come back for anything except the first 400 feet. P&Z Director Gilbert wants the county to continue to see this as it comes forth in phases. This would be 6.5 acres out of the 75 acres of total acreage. [Note from the Editor: I actually like this. Gilbert seemed intent on following our ordinances to the letter which has not always been done here in Pike County.]

Discussion about linear overlay districts that go by say 400 feet because you want the development to be consistent. We don’t want to piecemeal our ordinance. Commissioner Jason Proctor was concerned about going over and above what is in our code. Attorney Rob Morton said that they can appeal this.

The applicant wants to have the entire parcel as C3 rather than the 6.5 acres. Concerns about what is being done behind the first section. P&Z Director Gilbert would like to have something in place to have them come back before us for the rest of this 75 acres. He doesn’t want us to rezone everything because they wouldn’t have to come back before the commissioners for this. Usually we have a site plan for the entire parcel but we don’t have this time. This isn’t about McLeRoy because they have done a great job on everything else, but this is protection for the county.

Dee answered more questions. If we want to modify the recommendation and say that all future phases will be required to come back to the commissioners and will eliminate the problem about the 400 feet. Dee asked what happens with the septic system and retaining pond. He doesn’t want to abide by the overlay by bricking the entire 4 sides. This is the first phase but part will be outside of it. Rob Morton said that this will be part of the first phase. Dee is ok with coming back for each phase. 50 foot buffer for residential zone. This 400 feet goes from the center of the road, but anything beyond it doesn’t have as high of a standard with building materials. Dee is ok with this.

Motion to approve with conditions from the Planning Commission including an application for each phase and a 50 foot buffer shall be planted according to our code. Approved 5-0.


a. Ben Maxedon to address the Board regarding County Retirement Plan.

Maxedon's letter is referenced above.

b. Pam Thompson to address the Board regarding Superior Court Budget.

When Superior Court Clerk Pam Thompson was appointed in 2019 for Superior Court, 26% of her budget was cut with no explanation. This year's budget request was presented as required with everyone else in the county, but her budget wasn't approved at that time. She questioned why her budget was not approved in July and was told that it was an oversight. She told commissioners that she thought that it should have been corrected then. But it wasn't.

It is the county's responsibility to fund constitutional offices and personnel so these offices can operate efficiently. Superior Court is one of the lowest paid offices in the county. Other constitutional offices have taken legal measures against the county in the past, but she doesn’t want to do this. However, she said that her employees deserve to be compensated appropriately, and she shouldn't have to fight for her budget because of an oversight with the county.

Commissioner Tim Daniel asked, What is the dollar amount? Almost $16,000. She has given her 2 employees that have been hired over the past 2 years a 5% raise after 6 months. That is all she could give them because that is all that was in her budget, she said. I don’t put money in my budget, you (the Board) do.

Commissioner Daniel said that the money comes from the Board. CM Rogers was asked if there was a way to find $16,000 to fund this. CM Rogers said that we should be cautious because we just hired a finance officer and are using contingency for that. Can she do a year end amendment? We can make changes too.

She and CM Rogers talked and have moved them up some in salary, but she didn’t have money to make it what she wanted. Clerk Thompson told commissioners, "If I file a Writ of Mandamus against the county, you would find the money, right?" Commissioner Tim Daniel said that she has the authority to do this. Rob Morton said that she can do this with a budget amendment at the end of the year, but you can also consider a budget amendment now.

Raise them to what? The last 2 employees who have worked 2 and 2 ½ years make less than anyone in the courthouse. Commissioner James Jenkins said that the reduction in salary in 2019 was the difference between the past Clerk's salary and the Clerk Thompson's.

Commissioner Jenkins made a motion to amend the budget for the $14,000 which will cover salaries. This will benefit the county because an employee makes a good salary and has been trained. If they were to get an offer for something else higher later, they will leave and we start all over. Tonight going forward or back to June? Not retroactive. Approved 5-0.

[Note from the Editor: Pike County Times also asked for and received an open records request related to this matter. There was a flurry of emails in July on this matter that brought a $1 an hour raise to a couple of the employees, but this would bring them up to where they need to be. One employee was making $11.90 an hour and the other was making $12.13 an hour before the pay raise, and they have both been here for a couple of years. This is ridiculous if we want to retain our people. A change needed to be made. And it shouldn't have taken a Constitutional Officer coming before the commissioners to get her budget taken care of. It should have been handled as soon as the mistake was brought to the county manager.]



Motion to adjourn. 8:21 p.m.

Agenda subject to revision.

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Submitted 9.27.21