Highway chief resigns; ops manager steps into position

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Commissioners establish elected-officials training fund

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The county commissioners selected a new highway superintendent in a regular meeting Tuesday after Highway Superintendent Ed Feix decided to retire.

Commissioner Tom Hauser said the retirement was effective May 28 and that Feix made the decision due to health reasons.

Steve Howell is the highway department’s operations manager, he noted, inviting a motion to move him into the top spot for the remainder of this year. Commissioner Bill Amos offered that motion and approval was unanimous. The change was made effective the day before to coincide with the beginning of a pay period.

“We are not planning on refilling the operations-manager position,” Hauser said. Howell will continue to perform those duties as a full-time employee. The commissioners voted at an April 2013 meeting to make the superintendent position part time and shift some of his duties to the operations manager. That was expected to result in savings of $40,000 to $50,000 yearly.

Money move

In another motion, $22,827.35 remaining in funds earmarked for the operations manager’s salary were transferred to the budget line item for full-time superintendent, which carried a zero balance because of the 2013 change.

Hauser said funds remaining in the part-time superintendent’s line item were being eyed for consulting, but the commissioners weren’t ready to proceed with that.

Commissioner Randy Kleaving offered thanks to Feix for his service to the county for what Howell said was 35 years.

“He made a lot of good changes to the county, and I know Steve will continue that,” Kleaving said.

“Even in a part-time capacity, he did a tremendous job,” Hauser added, “but for his own reasons, he needed to retire.”

“I appreciate you guys’ trust and support,” Howell told the commissioners. “I’ll try to do as good a job as (Feix) did; he did an awful good job out there for a lot of years.”

Training fund

The commissioners also approved a resolution establishing an elected-officials training fund. Berger said a certain amount from fees collected in the county recorder’s office would go toward training for the offices of auditor, clerk, recorder, surveyor and treasurer.

“Each of these offices now have required training that they have to do after they’re elected into office,” she explained, with requirements for certain numbers of hours.

County attorney Chris Goffinet prepared the resolution, Berger added. She also confirmed a suggestion from Commissioner Tom Hauser that recent legislation mandates the training and establishment of the fund.

County Recorder Mary Lee Smith said 50 cents of a fee collected for recording documents will go into the fund. Those fees can be viewed at www.perrycounty.in.gov/departments/recorder.