Final Lee County library vote on hold

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The ongoing saga of the controversial southwest Lee County library/conference center remained unfinished Tuesday evening after the Lee County Commission voted to table a final vote on awarding a contract for the $5.2 million facility.

Construction CGM Inc. of Colquitt was the apparent low bidder by the slimmest of margins (only $2,000) after bid openings last Thursday, but a list of seven deductible alternates that were a part of the bid package opens the possibility that second-low bidder JCI General Contractors of Moultrie could actually have the low bid.

"Based on their base bid (of $3.925 million), CGM Inc. of Colquitt is the apparent low bidder," lead architect Sonya Spalinger of Albany-based SRJ Architects told the commission Tuesday. "But we listed seven deductible alternates in the bid package, and if you consider only alternates one and two, JCI would be the low bidder.

"However, if you consider the other alternates, three through seven, CGM would again be the low bidder."

Commission Chairman Ed Duffy recommended, and the board acquiesced, that the matter be tabled for further discussion.

Commissioners also approved an agreement to hire The Mercer Group to conduct a compensation/classification study for county employees. The Mercer Group will be paid $25,875 for the four-month study.

"By hiring The Mercer Group, their representatives will come in and review the county's pay structure and job classification," County Administrator Tony Massey said. "They'll also review each position to make sure we meet federal standard compliance. And, as we've discussed previously, benchmarks will be established by comparisons to similar communities within a one-hour drive of here."

Duffy said the county's Personnel Committee had been asking for the review for "some time now," and added that he thought the county's pay structure is "pretty much in line."

Leesburg Commissioner Betty Johnson, a member of the Personnel Committee, said, "I'm just glad we're finally doing this."

At the request of Smithville/Chokee Commissioner Dennis Roland, the commission voted unanimously to approve waiving certain fees for victims of a tornado that hit in the county a month ago.

Commissioners also voted to approve a Lee County Board of Education request to purchase some 16 acres of land currently utilized by the city of Leesburg.

"I've talked with the School Board's attorney about this matter, and we're still doing the lawyer stuff," County Attorney Jimmy Skipper said. "But there's no reason for you not to approve this matter based on the issues we're discussing."

The commission also authorized a letter of agreement with Palmyra Medical Center, and Duffy read proclamations honoring civil rights veteran Odethia Simmons-James of Leesburg, who turned 90 Tuesday, and proclaiming this week National Public Safety Telecommunications Week "in honor of the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our community safe."