BPW Commissioners ask for more involvement

Bamberg Board of Public Works Commissioners asked that they be included more in the hiring and firing of BPW personnel at their monthly meeting on Monday June 6, and later agreed to table a motion to that effect until they receive advice from legal council. Recently elected Commissioner Matt Medlin said he would like to make a motion that the Commissioners be more involved in the hiring and firing process of employees on the BPW with the Manager.

“We have people that come up and want jobs with the BPW and I think the Commissioners need to be more involved with the Manager in effect. I make a motion that the Commissioners be involved with the hiring and firing process with advice from the Manager. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Buzzy Bunch.

BPW General Manager Bruce Ellis said that under state law, the BPW is set up under a Manager-Council form of government. “We might want to get our lawyers looking at it,” Ellis said. “You hire a general manager to run the business of the board. If you have a problem you need to come to me. The Municipal Association policy is pretty clear; you hire me to run the business . If there is an incident you don’t like, you should bring it to my attention. That’s under state law.”

Medlin said he did not want to take the hiring and firing capability away from Ellis but he thought the Commissioners “needed to be more involved” in the future if there was someone or some action to be taken on.

Board Chairman Dr. F. Marion Dwight asked if it would be appropriate to table the motion until legal advice could be obtained by the board’s next meeting. Commissioner Buzzy Bunch, who seconded Medlin’s motion, said he wasn’t sure the matter needed to be tabled, noting if several possible employees are seeking a position it might be helpful if Commissioners knew who they are. “We might know something about a person you may not know,” Medlin said.

Also during the meeting:

• The BPW‘s on-call policy was discussed as requested by Commissioner Medlin: Manager Ellis noted that OSHA regulations require that time be split evenly among employees. “As manager I like to see the time split up so I can see what they are doing and know what they are doing to see that water, electric and gas are all covered. I don’t want the same person taking a call all the time,” Ellis said.

• In discuss of a request for the BPW to look into placing a monument at the new Richard Carroll Elementary School, Commissioner Matt Medlin said he was not requesting the board pay for the monument but that after being approached by several people “ look into the cost effectiveness and the feasibility” of doing so. Medlin said he was told the gripe was “we were going to give land to the hospital and we sold it to the school district.”

Manager Ellis said the problem is we serve three counties schools, including Edisto and the Bamberg Job Corps Center and “they’re going to be looking.” Ellis said what you really have to be careful with is putting capital expenditures on county property. “When we leave that arena and start spending capital expenditures on county property, we have to be very careful not only as a board but as an individual.” Ellis noted that the BPW was spending $500,000 or more in getting utilities to the school while being strapped financially.

“We need to investigate it and whatever we need to do out there for the school, we need to do it, and go with it, until we get it done,” Commissioner Buzzy Bunch said. “Over the years they’re going to be spending a lot of money with us. They’re going to be quite a heavy hitter with us,” Medlin said. Commission members agreed to look further into the matter of putting a monument up at the new school.