Wednesday, April 24, 2013

County Manager Can't Fire Employee Say Commissioners

Hilton Vs. Brown

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Board of Commissioners denied acting on interim county manager Larry Hilton’s request to dismiss Road Superintendent Avant Brown from employment. Hilton alleged insubordination which was refuted by Brown.

Attendance at the Tuesday meeting was standing room only, with the majority of those in attendance there to support Road Superintendent Avant Brown as evidenced by their applause for oral support and the later Board denial to grant the dismissal.

When Hilton accepted the temporary position, he was denied authority to hire and/or fire county department heads. Hilton had placed Brown on suspension which expired April 22.

The object of dissension was replacement of an air-conditioning unit in the Road Department facility charging the Road Dept. budget which was found by two air-conditioner contractor/ inspectors to be in working condition with no evidence of need for replacement.

Motion to deny request for authority to dismiss was made by Commissioner Stanley, seconded by Vice Chairman Storter and unanimously passed.

Vice Chairman Storter asked the Board to not renew the preventive maintenance contract with PGR Mechanical Contractors which was supposed to provide quarterly inspections of county-facility air-conditioning units but were supplying no written inspection reports to document inspection or condition of units if inspected; such omission of contracted performance contributed to the issue in item 8 above. Mr. Hilton stated he had not renewed the contract.

The county Maintenance staff will resume limited preventive maintenance measures and will report on inspections and conditions and notify supervisor if repairs seem necessary.

Tom Corbitt Hired As New County Manager

In other action the Board voted three times to rank the four finalist candidates for County Manager and the first two times Noah Powers was first choice of four, then first choice of three, and the last ranking put Thomas Corbitt over Powers by 3-2 margin.

The Board voted 5-0 to hire Mr. Corbitt to serve as Glades County’s County Manager, and authorized County Attorney Pringle and Chairman Echols to negotiate salary and benefits with Mr. Corbitt and report results to the Board May 14.

On Mr. Corbitt’s employment application he had listed salary expected to be $100,000 annual base salary and other benefits to be negotiated. A contract was not listed as a condition of employment.

-from public notes of Donna Storter Long

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