Clayton County Board of Commissioners
L-R: DeMont Davis (4), Felicia Franklin (3), Jeff Turner (chair), Alieka Anderson (1), Gail Hambrick (2).

Judicial personnel requests await funding decisions

by Robin Kemp

UPDATE 12/28 10:13 p.m.: ADDS Turner, Hambrick comments, meeting info, surveys; CLARIFIES preliminary item notice

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners held its final work session of 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 28. Tuesday’s discussion of upcoming items touched on requests from county court officials who apparently are seeking to add staff or restructure their offices.

Previously, The Clayton Crescent had reported that the agenda item “Preliminary Items for Next BOC Meeting” only listed “Preliminary Items for 01-04-2022” as the subject matter. Further inquiries, including in person at Smith Street, yielded no answers by press time. However, after the meeting, Chairman Jeff Turner said that the preliminary items are not usually listed individually on the published agenda. Turner pointed out that the work session discussion items are specified on the agenda.

During Tuesday’s work session, Turner asked other BOC members whether they had any preliminary items to discuss for the upcoming regular meeting.
Video of the December 28, 2021 Board of Commissioners work session.

Commissioner Gail Hambrick said she wanted to know whether the board would be expected to vote on numbers 10 (Juvenile Court additional position), 11 (District Attorney restructure), and 12 (Solicitor’s Office restructure), 14 (Magistrate Court addition).

“Okay, so the request has been made by those elected officials, and what Ms. Ambles is doing is making sure that she looks at the funding source, and getting with them to decide how to move forward,” Turner explained. “It is on this agenda, so yes, the thought is that it will be on the regular agenda. Now if you would like for those items to be taken on the regular agenda, as opposed to the consent agenda, then it will be done, so they can do a formal presentation before us.”

Hambrick replied, “Actually, I would like for us to have a discussion. Because we’ve been back and forth with this, you know, all of–most of ’21, if not all of ’21. And we’ve had some discussions and, you know, all.”

Turner said, “So when you say you would like for us to have–“

“I’d like to have because I don’t know, you know, uh, normally something’s presented to us to say, ‘I need this, and if I have this position, that position, it balances out, but whatever,” Hambrick said. “Plus, we are so close to budget time.”

“Agreed,” Turner said. “But you know as well as I do that any elected official can request that item be placed on the agenda. So what we will do is go back and ask that they come before us in a work session, if that’s your pleasure, to present in a work session prior to taking a vote on it, so they might be able to provide us additional information.”

Hambrick suggested, “Or, if it’s not an emergency, can we just wait–“

“Wait for the budget. And Ms. Ambles is asking them that, as well,” Turner said. “We had an operational review meeting on Monday and that is one of the takeaways that I gave her, to go back to them and ask if this could possibly wait for the budget cycle.”

“Okay, that’s all I have,” Hambrick said.

“Okay, just so I’m clear, in lieu of them not wanting to move forward with a work session discussion, you would like to see this on the regular agenda and not the consent agenda?” Turner asked.

“Right. If they don’t want to, right,” she replied.

Under this week’s Work Session Discussion Items, Human Resources had been scheduled to give a presentation on its first “stay interview” for 2021. However, the item was not presented at Tuesday’s work session, Turner said, because Ambles had asked to hold that item for the next work session.

With no further business to attend to, the meeting was adjourned after four and a half minutes.

The “stay survey” is a way to take the temperature among county employees.

According to the agenda, “The focus of the survey is to obtain and communicate data to maintain and develop a healthy, team-oriented environment in which our employees can thrive and be proud to be a part of.”

To that end, HR conducts three employee surveys:

  • exit interviews for employees leaving county jobs
  • a 120-day interview for new county hires
  • the “stay survey,” which “is another communication mechanism with our employees that is heavily focused on our effort to increase retention. We value our employees, and [want] to hear from them.”

One goal of the stay survey, HR says, is to increase retention, “which can have a positive long-term impact on the budget.”

The county also wants to get a sense of how citizens feel.

It has printed a stack of citizen surveys and placed them at the table near the entrance to the board chamber. The “Clayton County, GA Community Survey” is four pages long and asks residents about quality of life, affordable housing, jobs, education, county services and responsiveness, preferred methods of communication, spending priorities for American Rescue Plan Act funds, and such anonymous information as gender, employment status, race, household income, and education level:

Copies are available at 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro.

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