County hiring freeze is over

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


A hiring freeze policy for the county, which has been in effect since February 24, 2014, has been overturned.

The policy required a six-week delay between a position becoming vacant and filling the position.

“I think it is an unnecessary step and we should do away with the policy for now,” Commissioner John Gothia said.

Elections Administrator Tina Barrow has had to have court approval to hire judges for each election due to the policy.

“Because of the policy, every election I have to ask to hire judges even when we have to hire them,” Barrow said.

Barrow, when asked by County Judge Dean Crooks, said she had not been denied hiring the election judges.

“It is a busy time for her [Barrow] and she has to come to court to ask,” Crooks said. “The real question is should it be in the policy?”

The change to remove it from the policy was approved 4-1. Commissioner Jody Crump voted against.

“I am an advocate for it,” Crump said. “I don’t see removing it.”

The court also voted to rescind a previous approval for financing new voting equipment due to the wording of a contract with a third party lender.

Originally, the court had voted to finance the equipment in three payments. However the wording on the contract raised concerns with the legal department including numerous additional fees and all the county books and finances had to be made available to the company upon demand.

Crooks said starting over from the beginning was not viable at this time, as the Elections Office needs the equipment.

The court approved buying the equipment outright.

Commissioner Johnny Trahan said the court is continuing to work on the drainage issues.

“We continue to do everything we can to make the drainage better,” Trahan said. “We are working on it daily.”

Commissioner John Gothia agreed.

“Top of everyone’s mind is drainage,” Gothia said. “Road and Bridge is working hard. Everyone is trying to get this cleared.”

Crump recognized Precinct 4 for their work.

“It’s a thankless job,” Crump said. “And thanks to TxDOT. From Interstate 10 and 105 to Farm to Market Road 1132, they are working on the ditches for drainage.”

Crooks said he received a message while court was in session from a person who saw the county digging where they had never seen them dig before to clear ditches.

“The Drainage District has worked on the Bessie Heights Ditch and areas in Vidor,” Crooks said. “They continue to work with Texas Parks and Wildlife.”