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Request made to fill vacant assistant spot

After some discussion March 9, the Anderson County Finance Committee decided to approve a request for an employee job description to be used in a job recruitment application by the county’s purchasing agent for hiring an additional employee in the purchasing department.

The request was made by Purchasing Agent Tony Foreman, who is now short a purchasing assistant since Hazel Gibson, the county’s former purchasing assistant who acted as interim purchasing agent before the county hired Foreman for the position last March, resigned a few months ago.

At the Finance Committee meeting officials stated that although the purchasing department that is currently staffed by three employees staffed by three employees in the past, an additional employee would relieve much of the workload and make operations more effective in the department.

“This is a busy time of year for us. The workload is pretty extensive. There are a lot of functions I do in my work that a purchasing assistant could help relieve me of so I can focus on some of those higher value added fees,” Purchasing Agent Forman said.

Foreman is requesting the vacancy in his department be filled by someone who is qualified to take on the duties of assistant purchasing agent to fill the purchasing agent’s responsibilities during times when Foreman is absent.

Hiring a fourth employee will increase the purchasing department’s budget code 122 by around $10,800, Foreman said.

“You wouldn’t need that much [money] to finish out this [fiscal] year?” questioned Finance Committee member Dr. Tim Parrott, Anderson County Director of Schools.

“No...I could use that [money in the budget] to hire someone on a temporary part-time basis,” replied Foreman, “Right now we could manage the department working with a staff of three, but this really is a busy time of year for us.”

Finance Committee member Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank asked Foreman if he had sent the job description for the purchasing assistant vacancy to Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager for legal review to determine what responsibilities a purchasing agent can perform under the county’s financial management system of 1981.

Foreman responded that he had not yet sent the job description for review, but would.

Anderson County Finance Director Natalie Erb pointed out that under the 1981 financial management law—the current financial system the county operates under—the law does not require the county have a deputy purchasing agent.

“The 81 law doesn’t say anything about a deputy purchasing agent. The law only states that the county has to have a deputy for the finance director position. There’s nothing in the 81 law that mandates a deputy purchasing agent,” said Erb.

Finance Committee Chair Myron Iwanski stated that the way he understood the 1981 law is the Finance Director can assume the role of purchasing agent when the purchasing agent is not available.

“Under the 81 law, if I understand it right, I think if it falls under the Finance Director then the Finance Director assumes that role if the Purchasing Agent isn’t available,” Iwanski noted.

Iwanski said he was reluctant to move forward with hiring an extra person when there are still some questions about how this will work.

He suggested the purchasing department could hire someone on a temporary basis to serve as assistant to the purchasing agent, “until we figure some of these things out.”

“We want to wait until the end of the fiscal year to make any decisions on structure. That’s the commission’s recommendation anyway,” stated Iwanski.

Foreman said the type of person he is looking for to fill the vacancy is college educated, with a four year degree, and with or without major experience.

“We’ve had seven people apply to the position already, and we’ve interviewed one of them,” Foreman advised.

Iwanski explained that the county’s budget committee would have to approve the funding for the position, but the finance committee could vote to approve policies and structure, which would be the job description of the role to be filled.

Finance Committee Commissioner Phil Warfield said he was all in favor of approving Foreman’s request because he thinks the department would benefit from having an additional employee.

“I’m for approving this because I think you need an additional person. It’s a busy time of year for purchasing,” Warfield commented.

The motion was made to approve Foreman’s job description for the vacancy, contingent on review and approval by the county law director of the job requirements under the 81 law.

The finance committee voted unanimously to approve the request.