Despite hearing from the judges for Barbour County, the District Attorney and several elected county officials at the start of the county commission work session on Tuesday, several commissioners refused to discuss the proposed property that was being put before the commission as a new location for courthouse services for Eufaula.
Commissioner Pat Ivey voiced her option, stating, “I wish that we as a commission would have had an opportunity to sit down first and view the plan, and talk about it. I would have liked an opportunity to for all of us to sit down and see if it is feasible or not feasible. You cannot purchase property without a plan. This is a major decision, we all know for 30 years we have talked about this. We need a plan in place.”
Commissioner Earl Gilmore reminded Ivey that the commission tried to do just that recently, having called two special called meetings, one of which was cancelled at the last minute due to incorrect procedure calling the meeting and the other cut short for the same reason. “If you remember we tried to hold a meeting to discuss this, but really that is what we are trying to do today. You have to first know the price of the property before you can come up with a plan,” Gilmore said.
Commissioner Stan Adams spoke up at this point, stating, “You have to realize that Commissioner Ivey and I live on the other end of the world as far as Eufaula is considered. We have to represent our people according to that situation. Me, as a commissioner didn’t know anything about anything; I didn’t even know that we were looking to buy one until Commissioner (Frank) Straughn showed up with the plans.” Adams added that everyone on the commission should have been made aware of what was going on before coming to the meeting. “As Commissioner Ivey said, you have to realize where we are coming from on our end,” he said.
Commissioner Straughn said the commission had been discussing this issue for several years, that it was even discussed about building a new building in Clayton, but that as far as numbers and figures he had all that information but that he wasn’t going to discuss it in public. “I have everything that we need to talk about today and that is what I want to talk,” Straughn said. “We can go into executive session and I can lay it all out for everyone.”
After several terse comments were made, Straughn said that he didn’t want commissioners to vote on the property right then, that he wanted them to look at the plans and give them the information.
Ivey made a motion to table the discussion, stating that there might be more than one option to the problem. A roll call vote was taken of the commissioners to table the issue with a 4-3 vote being registered. Commissioners Rachel Smith, Frances Crews, Ivey and Adams voting to table the issue; Commissioners voting to continue the discussion were Straughn, Gilmore and Jerry McGilvary.