Some policies affecting Orange County employees will have to await a future date at the regular meeting of the Orange County Commissioners Court on April 13.

No action was taken for employee policies on elected officials’ pay matrix, mobile devices and cellular service, vacation, sick time buy back, life insurance and medical insurance to coordinate with Medicare for retirees who are eligible as placed on the agenda.

John Banken, Precinct 3 commissioner, said he and the other commissioners need more information and additional workshops, such as budget and insurance numbers, before making a decision.

Douglas Manning, assistant county attorney, said he appreciated the commissioners court taking these issues on early in the budget process.

“It’s unprecedented. We can’t do anything in August anyway. It’s too late,” he said.

The commissioners adopted the amended Flood Damage Prevention Order that includes the Board of Adjustment and Appeals with the established procedures set forth by the commissioners court.

The vote was 3 to 2 with County Judge Brint Carlton, Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose and Precinct 2 Commissioner Barry Burton voting yes and Banken and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jody Crump voting no.

Crump said he did not like the Flood Damage Prevention Order.

Carlton was appointed to serve as an advisory director to the Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation and also to the negotiating committee for collective bargaining with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Union.

He succeeds former County Judge Carl Thibodeaux in those positions.

In other county business, Ryan Peabody, the emergency management coordinator for Orange County made a visit to commissioners court.

He has been in the coordinator position since the beginning of the new year.

Peabody said he has been “very busy” doing a lot of work.

“I’ve been preparing for emergencies and any other situation that may arise,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about hurricanes and their impact on the local region.”

In addition to hurricanes, Peabody said he’s also learning about debris management, emergency management principles that apply to any emergency situations.”

“I’ve been learning from the experts and it’s been very informative,” Peabody said.

Authorities are predicting a low probability of a hurricane hitting Southeast Texas this season, but Peabody said his office will be ready, regardless.

Peabody’s background is in contracts and reviewing them, something he thinks will help with mitigating unfunded liabilities such as the county receiving the maximum reimbursement with debris clean-up after a disaster.

“We want the county to spend the minimum amount (for debris clean-up),” he said.

Photo – Ryan Peadbody became the Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator at the start of the new year.
He said he has been learning about emergency management and he hopes to save the county money for unfunded liabilities through his background of working with contracts if there is a disaster.
RECORD PHOTO: David Ball