Tag: Jefferson County
Tony Petelos, the only county manager Jefferson County has had, told county commissioners at their committee meeting today that he will soon retire.
“After 34 years of public service in many different jobs throughout the years and 10 years here at the county, I’m going to announce my retirement this year,” he said from his seat at the end of the board table. “I don’t have a date set, but I just want to give you a heads up that I do plan to retire this year. I’ve got a couple of projects I’m still working on and I want to get those done, but it’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with you.” Read more.
After 45 years of scrutiny, five years in receivership and two years in monitorship, Jefferson County has been released from its consent decree governing hiring and employment practices. Senior U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith signed the order that brought the decree to an end.
“It is a validation of what we have done since we’ve arrived here in Jefferson County,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said at a hastily called press conference Monday afternoon. “It validates the actions that we have shown you and shown the citizens of Jefferson County, that our hiring practices are progressive, they are color blind, they are gender blind and they represent the population of Jefferson County, whom we serve.” Read more.
The circuit clerk’s office at the Jefferson County Courthouse was closed Monday for Columbus Day, but staffers in the office weren’t taking a holiday.
“The absentee staff is working on the mail today, getting out ballots, the ballots that have been returned,” said James P. Naftel II, the presiding probate judge of Jefferson County. “(Columbus Day is) a state holiday and the circuit clerk’s office is closed for in-person voting today but it will reopen tomorrow.”
It’s been a working weekend of those in the clerk’s office as they have set the stage for what they hope is a more efficient processing of in-person absentee voters. Read more.
A motion filed just before the close of business Tuesday could end 45 years of scrutiny for Jefferson County. County attorney Theo Lawson filed a joint motion that Jefferson County be removed from its consent decree, stating that the county not only complies with but in many cases exceeds the requirements of federal law regarding recruitment, hiring and promotion of qualified individuals. Read more.
U.S. District Court Judge Lynwood Smith wished Tony Petelos a happy Halloween, one in which he would get more treats than tricks.
But the Jefferson County manager had already gotten a big treat when he heard Smith say that Jefferson County is “teetering on the edge” of being able to conclude the consent decree on personnel practices that has hovered over it for nearly 40 years. And it was a treat he was glad to get.
“Absolutely,” Petelos said after the status hearing this morning. “It’s been almost four decades, this consent decree, and we’re very close to bringing it to an end. It’s very positive. We’re very excited. Four decades is a long time.” Read more.
Jefferson County commissioners are again wondering how to manage the creeping rise in healthcare costs for the poor.
Commissioners at a Tuesday committee meeting expressed concerns that the cost to provide in-patient care to the poor in the county has risen to an estimated $25 million a year.
Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the county had hoped it could keep the tab for indigent in-patient care, which is being provided by area hospitals, at about $15 million.
Commissioners expressed concerns that the rising costs could force the county to again dip into its general fund to foot the healthcare bill. Read more.