TALLADEGA COUNTY — The Talladega County Commission and Probate Judge Randy Jinks were able to reach a compromise Monday, Nov. 30, to fill the position of chief clerk in the Probate Office. 

Lawana Patterson, who has held the chief clerk’s post for at least 13 years, is retiring.

Jinks said he planned to appoint Mike Waller to the position, based on a recommendation from former Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth and Jinks’ own knowledge. Waller has a degree in political science and a law degree, but he has little experience with elections and other areas that he would be dealing with in his new position. 

Jinks said Waller’s knowledge of legal matters would be helpful in dealing with lawyers who have business in the Probate Office.

Jinks has the authority to hire his own new employees at entry level salaries, but based on Waller’s education and background, Jinks wanted to hire him at step four, which would require the commission’s blessing.

Jinks pointed out that, even starting at step four, Waller would still be making less than Patterson.

None of the commissioners made a motion to accept Jinks’ initial proposal, which Commission Chairman Kelvin Cunningham ruled dead. 

Commissioner Mally Limbaugh suggested hiring the new chief clerk at a grade two for 90 days and then considering a promotion. Jinks said he would be willing to wait as long as six months before asking the commission for the raise.

The six months compromise was approved by the commission by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioner Jackie Swinford, who ran against Jinks for probate judge in 2018, abstaining. Jinks said he intended to get his new chief clerk sworn in as soon as possible.

During the same meeting, the commission also agreed to restructure the 2010 jail bond.

According to County Administrator Pat Lyle, the initial bond was just over $11 million. The commission voted to split the bond, one for $10 million and the other for the balance.

Lyle explained that when a bond is $10 million or less, it may be sold to commercial banks, generating additional savings. The move is expected to save the county at least $400,000. The smaller bond issue will now be taxable, however.

Also Nov. 30, the commission:

  • Extended the maintenance agreement with GenisysGroup for hardware and software for an IBM computer in the Revenue Office for another year;

  • Approved an agreement with Prontotrak Inc. for electronic ankle monitoring services as requested by Circuit Judge Chad Woodruff and Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore;

  • Approved the purchase of SmartFusion Financial software for the Commission offices;

  • Passed a memorandum of understanding between itself and the town of Oak Grove for maintenance on various projects;

  • Authorized the Highway Department to assist the state Department of Conservation on various maintenance projects on Cheaha Road;

  • Heard a presentation from Mike Raita, executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame;

  • Announced that Commissioner Phillip Morris will have a cleanup day Saturday, Dec. 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 979 Harper Springs Road in Sylacauga; and

  • Announced the next commission meeting will be Monday, Dec. 14.

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