Local News

Story published: 10-01-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Ferguson presents resolution at meeting, commissioners won’t hear it

By Karen Sells
Assistant Editor

Less than one week after his professed understanding of state law, Commissioner Mark Ferguson continued his efforts to direct paving in Washington County.

The new chair of the Public Works Committee made a motion during the Sept. 9 meeting to place all paving outside of the Washington County system on hold, with the exception of projects approved by the County-Owned Property Committee, until further word from the committee.

The motion was approved despite Highway Superintendent Johnny Deakins making it clear the proposed arrangement was not going to work.

When the committee reconvened the following week, Ferguson said he recognized state law gives authority for paving priorities to Deakins and asked only for an agreement to work with the new members of the Public Works Committee.

No mention of the earlier motion was made, and no resolution was included in the meeting packet for the September commission meeting.

Yet, Ferguson introduced a resolution during the Sept. 23 meeting recommending county road paving projects be a priority of the Highway Department.

“This resolution in no way changes the resolution passed in May,” Ferguson said, referring to the commission’s approval of paving 19 roads in the Town of Jonesborough during the current round of paving.

Going forward, though, the resolution would require Deakins to complete all county road paving before beginning projects for other governmental entities.

Commissioner Mitch Meredith questioned why Ferguson was introducing a resolution that was handed out at the beginning of the meeting rather than being included in the packet sent to commissioners in advance for review.

Meredith also asked whether the governing body would first have to vote to suspend the rules in order to even discuss the resolution.

According to Rule 6 of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners Rules of Procedure, “the board shall consider no resolution unless it has been previously published to the board by mailing the resolution with the board’s packet or by placement on the agenda by the board at a previous meeting.”

Chair Greg Matherly confirmed the rules would have to be suspended in order for a discussion on paving priorities to take place.

Ferguson made a motion to suspend the rules, but the motion failed when approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the commissioners was not received.