Commissioners prepare to exit office; may buy iPads, keep county email accounts

Published 5:54 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014

As three Rowan County commissioners’ terms expire in December, they could have the ability to purchase county equipment and retain county email addresses.

The board of commissioners’ Monday consent agenda includes a procedure to buy county equipment they have used, such as iPads. The consent agenda also includes an item that would allow Chairman Jim Sides to keep his county email address because of his role on the county’s Department of Social Services board, according to Craig Pierce, county board of commissioners vice chairman.

A letter from Finance Director Leslie Heidrick and purchasing agent David Sifford suggests three steps for allowing commissioners to purchase county property: An outgoing board member would submit a written request that details the items he wishes to retain; the county manager and purchasing agent will declare the property surplus if the item’s value is less than $500; and, finally, the commissioner would pay for the item.

Pierce used commissioners’ iPads as an example of an item they may want to purchase as their terms end.

“I got mine two years ago and when I leave in two years, just how current is it going to be?” Pierce said. “And because of security reasons the county does not re-issue iPhones or iPads because information could be hacked. I personally don’t use my iPads for personal business, but some of the commissioners do. There may be credit card numbers or sensitive information (on the iPads).”

Pierce also briefly described the reasoning for letting an outgoing board member keep his email address for a set period of time. He used Sides as an example, saying all DSS board members have a county email address. Pierce said allowing Sides to keep his county email address would also allow Sides to transition to a private email account.

An agenda attachment for Monday’s meeting states that the county usually disables email accounts after terms end. In some cases, the county forwards emails to a new address, the attachment says. An exception to the general rule, according to the attachment, is a commissioner that also serves on a board like DSS.

Other items on the commissioners’ agenda include:

• Approving a bid for the purchase of a Chevy Tahoe for the Emergency Services Department at a cost of $33,893

• Approval of a $196,500 contract to renovate the county courthouse’s roof.

The amount falls within the county’s budgeted amount.

• Declaring as surplus two Rowan Transit System vehicles, a 2007 Ford Conversion Lift Van and a 2009 Ford Conversion Lift Van. The vehicles are beyond their useful life, according to an agenda attachment. Both vehicles have more than 160,000 in mileage.

• Three public hearings

One hearing is for the fiscal year 2016 Community Transportation Program. The second is a grant hearing for the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program. The third hearing is for the 2015 Schedule of Values and 2015 Present Use Schedules.

• Two change order requests for construction at the landfill.

The first change order request relates to rock removal. The second relates to the landfill’s protective cover.

An agenda attachment states approving both requests would not increase the cost of the county’s construction contract.

• The final item of business is a closed session to approve minutes from Aug. 18 and Sept. 2 closed sessions.

The closed session is also being called for attorney-client privilege in relation to a community block development grant update.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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