Emotions were high in Lawrence County Thursday evening as Commissioners discussed the future of the County Administrator Peggy King. Several of the commissioners say they are unhappy with her performance. County bills paid late and delayed disbursement of FEMA funds are just 2 of the issues.
The public joined in the discussion. King found herself answering to not only the county leaders, but people in the crowd.
"Are the county's bills being paid on time?" asked one lady. King admitted that they were not always paid by the due date. She says she needs help, and her co-workers agree. Mechelle Graham has worked for the county for years and says they have begged the commissioners for more staff, to no avail.
"We are doing two and three people's jobs and it is physically impossible for people to handle 2 and 3 people's jobs and do it efficiently and effectively," she said.
Graham says there are only two people working under the administrator resulting in very long days.
"We are not even able to take our lunch breaks or especially a 15 minute break, you can't even take that."
The commission chambers were filled with varying opinions about what was to be done; Mose Jones was one of the only commissioners to speak in support of King.
"When you got 5 bosses calling you up telling you to do this and telling you to do that, stop doing this and put priority on that…that's what's going on. You know what I call it? Nitpickin," he said.
Ultimately the commission voted terminate Mrs. King's contract but that does not mean she is fired. Because she is a contract employee the issue will be revisited in 90 days where they can vote whether or not to reinstate her contract or let her go.
Jones was the only commissioner to vote against the contract termination.
"I know the way the operation works and it feels like to me, today, it was gung-ho after Mrs. King from day one," he said.
After the meeting King, visibly shaken, says she hasn't yet grasped the severity of the situation.
"I actually have not even soaked that in yet, I need to really consider what they have said and what the motion actually means."
The group also discussed hiring King an assistant, something she says was requested quite some time ago. Graham says she does not have much faith that there will be new people any time soon.
"Are they going to hire any new help for her? No it's just going to be all of us breaking our backs trying to get everything done just like we always do."
The vote to hire an assistant will be held in July. King's contract will be reevaluated in 90 days. During that time her salary will remain the same.