Franklin Co. BOC Spars Over Need for Training

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Franklin County Commission Chair Thomas Bridges is touting the accomplishments of the new board of commissioners so far this year.

That is after a heated discussion with fellow Franklin County Commissioner Clint Harper over whether the county should pay for Bridges and one new commissioner to become state certified board members.

At a Franklin County Commission meeting last week, Harper read what will become a monthly report by him on commissioners’ spending.

Harper said in July, Bridges and commissioner David Strickland spent a total of $979 on travel and $700 on training.

Bridges said the training is required by the state.

“Our training is coming along really nicely,” Bridges said. “Our training is coming along really nicely. My training is about three – quarters of the way through. The State requires we take a number of core courses.”

However, Harper disagreed.

Harper said it was not necessary for new board members to have extensive training.

“It’s not required. I just want to clarify that we have no requirements mandated to take any more than the three-day initial training courses. If you want to be certified, you can take more courses, but it’s not required,” Harper said.

But Bridges said as of July 1st the State requires the added classes.

Franklin County Commissioner David Strickland is also taking extra training.

Strickland said the classes are helping him become more effective as a board member.

“It is really great to have. One of the best things, I think, has been the classes on the budget. I think there are six or eight finance classes you can take,” Strickland said. “I know in my industry you are required to take so many hours of educational training, and the ACCG is mandating that we take so many hours of additional training.”

Bridges then outlined a number of accomplishments this year by the board.

Among them, he said he is working on getting natural gas installed throughout Franklin County, which he says would save citizens thousands of dollars on their heating costs.

Bridges also said he is looking at getting more dirt roads in FranklinCounty paved as well as continued work on expanding the county’s water system.

“I am pleased with the way this commission has gone so far. I think we’re going in the right direction. So if any citizen wants to talk to me about how we’re spending that money, I would be glad to talk with them,” Bridges said.

Bridges said so far this year, he and the board of commissioners have managed to save FranklinCounty over $250,000 since January.