Tie votes leave hiring freeze in place
(correcting) By Rebecca J. Barnabi/Reporter
MILFORD – A divided Caroline Board of Supervisors left in place a hiring freeze imposed in January after two proposals to lift it resulted in tie votes.
At their regular meeting on Tuesday of last week, the supervisors considered two proposals related to lifting the hiring freeze in order to fill four positions in county government – two full-time jobs and two part-time positions.
The full time positions are a dispatcher job with the Caroline Sheriff’s Office and a Department of Motor Vehicles clerk position in the office of the Commissioner of Revenue. The part-time jobs are two part-time travel counselor positions in the county’s department of economic development and tourism.
The supervisors voted in January to impose the hiring freeze except for the positions of fire-EMS chief and county administrator, positions for which it has been recruiting.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors first debated rescinding the hiring freeze entirely. Supervisor Reggie Underwood made a motion to rescind the hiring freeze completely, and it was seconded by Supervisor Calvin Taylor. However, a tie vote
killed the proposal. Supervisors Jeff Black, Jeff Sili, and Wayne Acors voted against lifting the hiring freeze; Underwood and Taylor were joined by Supervisor Floyd Thomas in voting in favor of lifting the hiring freeze.
The board subsequently voted 3-3 again to make an exception to the hiring freeze in order to fill the four positions. Underwood, Taylor, and Thomas voted in favor of filling the positions, and Acors, Black and Sili voted against filling them.
The two deadlocks killed both proposals; the hiring freeze remains in place.
Black argued the hiring freeze should stay in place or else other departments will be seeking to fill vacant positions.
Much of the discussion focused on the DMV clerk position. Commissioner of the Revenue Sharon Carter is relying on a part-time employee to perform the tasks.
Carter assured the supervisors that her staff would be able to meet its obligations, but in an e-mail to acting county administrator Alan Partin she said she may have to continue DMV services if the position is not filled.
“We’re going to fulfill our responsibilities,” she told the board. In her e-mail, she wrote, “If the position is not approved it will become necessary to seriously consider discontinuing DMV services.”
Taylor and Thomas expressed concern about other staff in Carter’s office not being able to devote themselves to their duties and any inconvenience in increased waiting time for citizens. Taylor called it a quality of life issue for citizens.
Finance director Frances Hatcher reminded the board that the
position is currently budgeted and was not a new position.
The salary for the position is budgeted at $25,000 annually; the county funds about $10,000 of the salary, and the state funds the remainder.