And so it begins again.
Talks of finding a new executive director surfaced during the North Alabama Regional Council of Governments’ (NARCOG) meeting Wednesday. However, after a lengthy discussion among board members made up of Cullman County and Lawrence County representatives, it was unanimously agreed upon to table the item on the agenda until a negotiation meeting could be held among Cullman, Lawrence, and Morgan County Commission chairmen in the hope that NARCOG could go back to functioning as a three-county COG.
According to NARCOG Chairman Dale Davis, it was a move favored by Jim Byard, Jr., director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) after speaking with him recently.
“He told me Morgan County has requested to go to TARCOG, and that Gov. Robert Bentley has the letter on his desk to sign, but that he would love for us to work together on our issues and solve them ourselves,” Davis said. “I gave him a scenario of what I think might be best for all three counties, and he said if we decided to do that, we could have an attorney that is a mediator present to see what kind of condition can be worked out.”
Issues with the organization began roughly a year ago when Cullman County resident Shane Bailey was selected to replace former director Neal Morrison, who resigned in September 2011 to accept a cabinet seat under Governor Bentley. Since that time, both Decatur and Morgan County have separated from NARCOG, stemming from growing frustration with its limited influence over the decision making process, particularly in appointing personnel. Between the three counties there were 235,000 residents, with Morgan County having around 51 percent of that, while Cullman County made up 34 percent and Lawrence County the other 15 percent.
Because of the uncertainty, Bailey resigned from taking the position, and Lona Johns served as interim director until the board voted to make her director for a six-month period at the end of April. The period ended last month.
“Right now there seems to be a consensus saying, ‘Ok, let’s solve our first priority problem and then move on to the first item on this list,’” Davis said.
Cullman County Commissioner Darrell Hicks agreed.
“If we’re negotiating with Morgan County, and we go hire a director today, what kind of message is that going to send to them?,” Hicks said.
Cullman Mayor Max Townson added, “As long as our seniors are taken care of in each of the three counties, I’m to the point where if we turn it over to them, that’s fine with me,” he said.
The meeting between Cullman County Commission Chairman Kenneth Walker, Bobby Burch of Lawrence County, and Ray Long of Morgan County is scheduled for Monday.
* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And so it begins again.
- Top News
Residents want ‘humility,’ ‘accountability’ in next school superintendent
Local residents want a humble, accountable and visionary leader to take over as the next superintendent of the Cullman County Board of Education — at least according to a survey that’ll be used to whittle down the five finalists for the position.
Merchants Bank embraces corporate citizen role
Established in 1907, in Hanceville, Merchants Bank is one of the concerned and caring businesses that make Cullman such a special place to live. Because of businesses like this one, and others who make it a point to give back to the community, Cullman can offer services, recreation and educational opportunities that are enjoyed throughout the county.
Gentry leads February fundraising in sheriff’s race
Cullman County Sheriff candidate Matt Gentry outraised incumbent Mike Rainey in February campaign fundraising, however the sitting sheriff still maintains a larger campaign fund.
HPD: Boaz man charged with attempted murder after trying to run over police chief
A Boaz man is in jail on attempted murder charges after Hanceville police said he tried to run over the city’s police chief Friday afternoon.
County park sponsoring Bassmasters Elite Series Pro fisherman Kevin Hawk
Cullman County hopes to reel in more business and tourism at Smith Lake by signing Bassmasters Elite Series professional fisherman Kevin Hawk to a two-year sponsorship, officials announced Friday.
Hanceville woman arrested for two counts of drug distribution
A Hanceville woman was arrested by Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) agents on Thursday for previously selling meth to undercover officers.
CPD Chief, sheriff, candidates weigh in on gun bill
Candidates for Cullman County Sheriff weighed in on a bill that would let people carry loaded pistols in their vehicles without a concealed carry permit.
Arrests, incidents reports for March 6, 2014
Here is a look at the incidents that were reported to the Cullman City Police Department for Thursday:
Career tech, dual-enrollment scholarship bill passes
Local education officials hope a new dual-enrollment scholarship program created by the Alabama Legislature will help open up career opportunities for more students, by providing assistance to high school students wanting to take technology courses simultaneously at a community college.
Sheriff's office excavating for evidence in 2009 Tabitha Franklin missing woman case
The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office is currently excavating at a Cullman County home in search of evidence related to the 2009 disappearance of 29-year-old Tabitha Franklin of Cullman.
- More Top News Headlines
- Residents want ‘humility,’ ‘accountability’ in next school superintendent