The March 21 meeting of the St. Francois County Commission covered a full agenda that included a number of requests made by the Road and Bridge Department.
Road and Bridge Superintendent Clay Copeland addressed the commission about the creation of a part-time custodian position for the department’s new facility at 1640 East Woodlawn in Farmington.
“Now, prior to us having this new facility, all of our cleaning, per se, was irrelevant due to the fact that everyone was just gathering out in the shop, and we have guys that take care of our shop cleaning and things of that nature,” he said. “But now that we have this new facility with the new break room, the new office, new area, we do need to have a custodian.
“It was apparent that the maintenance of the cleaning and the custodial crew here at the county that does the annex, the courthouse, Weber Road, and the jail, just did not have the staffing to be able to handle that at this point. So, we’re just asking to establish a new part-time custodian for the road and bridge, which will work either after hours or before hours — not while we’re there — approximately nine hours per week, with no benefits, just an hourly rate.”
Following a question by one of the commissioners, Copeland confirmed that the job would be limited to no more than 1,000 hours a year.
“It’ll be less than 1,000 to keep our new facility up to where it needs to be,” he said. “And of course, this has been budgeted. [It will be] paid out of the road and bridge budget, but it will not encompass any benefits.
After the commissioners unanimously approved the establishment of the position of road and bridge custodian, Copeland announced the name of the person the department wanted to hire for the job.
“We would like to appoint Keith Serini to this position at $15 an hour,” he said. “He was a former road and bridge employee that has since retired, but we would like to call him back. He is very competent, hardworking, and trustworthy — in a sense that we can trust him with our facility after hours or before hours.”
Asked who would be Serini’s supervisor, Copeland said, “[Highway Administrator John Gross] and/or I would directly supervise him. He will answer to us, as all road bridge employees do.”
Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher said, “With Keith, you don’t need hands on all the time — and he’ll probably go above and beyond.”
Copeland replied, “We anticipate that, yes.”
The commission unanimously approved hiring Serini to fill the position of part-time custodian at a rate of $15 an hour.
Next, Copeland requested permission to hire an entry-level laborer for road and bridge, made necessary due to the recent death of one of the department’s employees.
“Sadly, road and bridge has encountered a vacancy within our department in the last month,” he said.
Gallaher interjected, saying, “In the worst possible way.”
Copeland continued. “Yes, so we would like to replace this position, if you will, with an entry level labor to get back to the number of workers that we have. Of course, any new hire at road and bridge starts out as a base labor position.”
The commission unanimously approved the road and bridge department’s hiring of an entry-level laborer at the union contracted rate of $17.38.
Copeland next asked the commission to approve an emergency purchase letter for transmission and reprogramming repairs on a road and bridge dump truck.
“The reason that we are asking for this emergency purchase letter is because the company that performed this for us — Clark Power Systems in Wentzville — is the only company that could have diagnosed this issue with one of our newer dump trucks, and so we took this up there to them to have it diagnosed. They were the only one that could diagnose it to find the issues with this transmission.
“And while it was there, they called and said, ‘Hey, we can fix this, but this is what the amount will be.’ We would like for them to go ahead and fix it due to the fact that it’s the only place we can get it fixed anyway, and we need this truck. But the fact that this is over the $1,500 threshold, we would ask for an emergency purchase letter to make this purchase.”
Copeland added that the truck is six years old and out of warranty.
The commissioners unanimously approved an emergency purchase letter in the amount of $3,413 for transmission and reprogramming repairs on the road and bridge dump truck.
Highway Administrator Gross addressed the commission regarding an addition to the road and bridge department’s annual bids that were approved earlier in the meeting.
“We send out a courtesy mailer to all of our vendors that have provided us with something throughout the last three years, whether it be oil, aggregate, asphalt, over pipe,” he said. “By doing so, one of the vendors was missed and did not receive the courtesy email, so they did not receive the bid packets.
“So, what we would like to do is in addition to the annual bid, we would like to award Base Rock Minerals, an aggregate bid for 2023. It’s something that we award all aggregate bids throughout the county for anybody that bids on it, and we just go to them based on, you know, the proximity of the job. So, if we’re working in Bonne Terre, that doesn’t mean we have to travel to Farmington to get rock.”
In answer to a question posed by a commissioner, Gross stated that, while they are all close, Base Rock Minerals’ prices are “actually lower” than those of other companies that bid on base rock minerals for aggregate.
“So, I contacted the auditor’s office the other day and they said that this would be fine since we are going through this process in an open meeting awarding this bid and then we award all of the aggregate bids anyways,” Gross said.
Gallaher asked, “And this bid applies for the year not just for the first one?
“It’s going to be for the year, and when we do annual bids again, then we’ll catch them.”
Copeland interjected, “And there are five quarries in San Francisco County that we patronize.
Prior to the vote, County Auditor Louie Seiberlich said, “Commissioners I caution you — and I’m in agreement with this — but I caution you about this because the annual bid is just like Christmas. It comes at the same time every year, and to be honest with you, nobody should miss the bid whether they get a courtesy [mailer] or not.” So, they’ve been in business a long time, but…
Gross interjected, saying, “They have been, but they got a new salesperson.”
Seiberlich said, “And I’m in agreement with that.”
After the commission unanimously approved the addition of Base Rock Minerals to the aggregate bid, Gallaher said, “Louie, I thought about the precedent on that one. We can talk about that part.”
Other actions taken during the meeting:
• A request made for $6,720 to improve storm drainage at the Law Enforcement Center was taken under advisement until next week’s meeting.
• Clarification of the $25.08 per hour rate for the Express Employment Professionals contract was approved.
• A new contract for Opioid Settlement representation was approved.
• A one-year agreement with Pictometry International Corporation in the amount of $7,443.71 for new aerial maps to compare construction with 2019 images was approved. The amount is included in the assessor’s budget.
• The addition of a new Tech 2 position to the county IT department was approved at an hourly rate of $20.36.
• The appointment of Jessica Menjoulet was approved to the position of Tech 2 in the IT department. It will become effective after the county’s contract with CBIZ goes into effect. CBIZ is a professional services provider in the areas of accounting; tax and advisory services and benefits; and insurance services.
• The addition of a large ceiling fan to the Law Enforcement Center, in the amount of $13,070, was approved.
• Annual bids for the prosecuting attorney’s office, road and bridge, maintenance, assessor’s office and county commission.
The next meeting of the St. Francois County Commission will take place at 10 a.m. March 28, and is open to the public.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or email@example.com