OC commissioners deal with training requests
Orange County Commissioners are continuing their venture Monday during a meeting to cut back on expenses following the recent $ 3 million deficit budget.
During a meeting last week, commissioners took action allowing only mandated travel by county employees. It was stated since the start of the budget year, there has been a “mass exodus” of employees incurring traveling expenses to obtain training and commissioners were only trying to hold down “unnecessary” travel.
A motion was made to put into effect immediately that all department heads are to make a list of mandated travel for the budget year up through the last day of Sept.
Banken suggested instead of three people from a department attending training, that only one attend and they train the others. In addition, there was an inquiry if “webinars” could be done instead of traveling.
“Last year Orange County spent $143,000 on travel,” said Pct. 3 Commissioner John Banken.
This week on the agenda was from three different departments requesting permission to attend training.
First to be discussed was the three employees from the Agrilife/Extension Department requesting to travel to Houston for training. The employees will travel Thursday in a county vehicle and will each incur a $20 registration fee. It could not be confirmed if the training was mandated or not, but commissioners voted to allow the training.
Another approved training was for the Tax Assessor/Collector department for three employees to attend a training. Lynda Gunstream told commissioners that although it was not mandated by the state it was still very important since the recent laws were changed in the last session of the legislature. Along with Gunstream attending the training will be the assistant deputy of motor vehicles and the person over taxes. The trio has been registered for the training since August and has already been paid.
Also attending training will be personnel from the Parks Department. He will go to Beaumont to learn more about pesticide application at the park.
“If this is must have training, then I don’t have a problem with it,” Banken said. “I am all for the training we can get, but we had to borrow $4 million recently.”
Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux agreed with the training being necessary in some cases and the court will continue to look into the matter and work together.
“We have to be careful, but we can’t shut down continuing education,” said Thibodeaux.
In other county business, filed into the minutes was a direct deposit to the general fund from the State Comptroller of Public Accounts in the amount of $310,963. These funds represent the one-half cent sales and use allocation for the month of September.