Assessing Personnel

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Because of resignations and firings in his office, Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay said his staff is smaller by two positions. Slay told county supervisors Thursday that the departed employees were not needed.

But Slay has now asked the board to approve two contracts that would replace them. One is a $28,000 renewal with a company specializing in personal property appraisal and the other a $73,000 agreement with a firm that does the same with land and buildings.

Slay attempted to justify the terminations.

"The way I look at it, I don't care how much education you've got, if you're not getting the job done you don't need to be there," Slay said.

But board president Craig Hitt said the former employees took with them 30 years of experience when they left.

"This is my opinion. We had someone over there that I felt like could tell us and I could feel good he knows what he's doing," said Hitt. "This is a good answer, this is not a good answer. In the middle of this, that person is let go and now we're being asked to hire somebody that we know nothing about to come in here and tell us whether or not this is right or not."

"Well and I've tried to assure you that the fact that we do have somebody there to answer those questions. I'm there. I answer the phone," said Slay.

At that point, attorney Rick Barry warned Slay and the supervisors any discussion about terminated employees was a personnel matter and should only be dealt with in an executive session.

The supervisors then asked Slay to come to Monday's meeting with information about exactly how much money would be saved if his request were approved and how many years of experience is still left in the tax assessor's office.