Commissioner’s Meeting Hears of Elected Officials with Unrecorded Account Activity

Published 4:49 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

The Sumter County Board of Commissioners met February 20th. The following 5-year employees were recognized: James Littlefield, Jr, Public Works Director, Latoya McCants-Rice, County Clerk, and Patricia F. Gryczkowski, Finance and Procurement.
The following 10-year employees were recognized: Johnny Ramos, Sheriff (Dispatcher), Nigel Poole, EMA Director, and Gregory Queenie, Jailer.
The following 20-year employees were recognized: Jimmie Colson, Correctional Institute (Warden), and Daryl Dowdell, Building & Grounds Manager.
The following 45-year employee was recognized: Virgil Wright, Public Works Shop Supervisor.
Justin Elliot, an accountant with Mauldin and Jenkins, addressed the Board. Mauldin and Jenkins are a firm that does the County’s audit.
Elliot mentioned that the County had some segregation of duties issues, mentioning that tasks like signing checks, receiving, and disbursement should be accomplished by different people, but that these issues were not uncommon. Elliot also mentioned that there were some elected official’s whose accounts were not currently accounted for.
“There are a couple of bank accounts that their activity wasn’t recorded on the County’s General Ledger from some of these elected officials. All we need to do is hopefully get with the elected official and get that cleaned up. Most elected officials, all their money should be accounted for. . . it should be dispersed out to another party the next month, or it should be earmarked for, or held for, a specific purpose.”
He mentioned turnover in departments can cause issues with keeping track. Afterward the Board Heard Citizens Comments.
Ethan Wolfe addressed the Board and told about Mayor “Boze” Godwin’s retirement celebration. He encouraged County Commissioners to attend public events.
“You’re the leaders of the County, yet I see ya’ll here, but I don’t see you at these other events. I’d like to encourage ya’ll to represent the County and try to make it a habit or point to get to some of these events. Because that’s what people want to see, they expect the leaders to be out there.”
Herschel Smith then addressed the Board. Smith had previously addressed the Board about large trucks going through the downtown, and the need to post signage for the designated truck route bypassing Americus. He referenced a letter sent by the Commissioners to the State Representatives asking for assistance in getting GDOT to post the signage, giving an update.
“I don’t know if any of you got a response from our representatives in Atlanta but I do know Jim Littlefield, our County Works Director, has continued to pursue this issue. However GDOT still has not installed the signs.”
He thanked Littlefield and the Commissioners for their efforts and asked them to continue to keep the issue on their agenda.
The appointment to the Board of Elections was tabled after commissioner Mark Waddell asked for time to do research on a candidate. The Board had earlier met with candidates Clarietta Pam Fields and Elizabeth Robinson, both submitted by the Sumter County Democratic Committee for the Democratic seat on the Board of Elections.
The Board voted to use GEMAS reappraisal services, which was recommended by the Board of Tax Accessors. Smith made a motion, seconded by Waddell, passing unanimously.
Commissioner Jim Reid mentioned issues with Upper River Road. He stated that when drivers are traveling East and pull into the intersection, District Line comes in at an angle, leaving oncoming traffic in the vehicle’s blind spot.
Public Works Director Jim Littlefield reported that he had emailed Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) asking for a traffic study after the last tragic wreck. He had asked about policy concerning caution lights and had reached out for quotes for the flashing LED stop signs.
“It’s beyond me why DOT did not change that intersection when they did the TSPLOST improvements. They are so adamant on 90 degree intersections.”
He mentioned budget could have been an issue.
Littlefield also offered to donate his father’s surveying records to the County, under the condition they be under the supervisor of the public works department and that he and his brother have access to the records.
“I would propose that the public works director or a County Representative at some point would be the custodian or caretaker of these records.”
He mentioned that he often used the records in his work to research dirt roads, property lines, and right of ways. Littlefield gave an example.
“A long time ago, we surveyed a piece of property, and set spike in the intersection of a dirt road and a paved road. A lady keeps insisting that a part of that road was taken by the County. So I went over there and met, and low and below that spike is still in the center line of that intersection, the dirt road has shifted over. We’ll be able to put it back where it’s supposed to be.”
The commissioners unanimously voted to accept the records.