After 45 minutes behind closed doors tonight, commissioners returned to open session with county manager Ed Causey still in his position and a previous motion for alternative budgets off the table.
Commissioners left the meeting with intentions to return to whittling away at what is now a proposed 7-cent tax hike one week from tonight.
The end of the night was far quieter than the beginning, when a request by Commissioner Albert Kirby for two alternative budgets — one with no tax increase, the other with a 3 percent — precipitated a heated debate, a motion and Causey’s remarks implying his resignation.
Kirby wanted the alternative budgets as opposed to the proposed 7 cent tax hike currently on the table, and when he put it the form of a motion, it was quickly seconded by Commissioner Harry Parker.
Responding, Causey said he was willing to do as directed, but he stressed that he felt a hold-the-line budget could not be accomplished without sending “at least one-third of your workforce home.”
After further heated talks between commissioners, Commissioners chairman Jefferson Strickland called for a vote. It was 2-2 with Commissioner Jarvis McLamb not casting a vote either way. That non-action, county attorney Joel Starling said, becomes a vote in the affirmative.
At that point, Causey stated “your vote has confirmed my resignation.”
The county manager’s remarks brought Strickland to his feet to call for the immediate closed session.
Less than an hour later, all seemed well between board members and Causey, but nothing had changed, at that point, with the proposed tax hike.