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Cleburne commission hears of need for additional cleaning services

Joyce Fuller

At the Cleburne County Commission work session Monday night, Revenue Commissioner Joyce Fuller tells the commission about the unsanitary situation at the courthouse. Shown at right is commission Chairman Ryan Robertson.

HEFLIN The Cleburne County Commission is looking for some extra help to keep the Cleburne County courthouse clean and sanitary.

The county has had to hire a cleaning service to keep the building clean because county inmates can’t be used during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they might contract the virus and bring it back to the county jail. But, county revenue commissioner Joyce Fuller told commissioners during a work session Monday night, the cleaning service is scheduled to do its work only three times each week — not enough in these “trying times.”

Fuller, whose office is in the courthouse, addressed the commission and pleaded for help.

“I’m just about to the point where I’m feeling resentful,” she said. 

Fuller said back in 2009 there was one maintenance person and two county inmates who would clean the courthouse several times each day.

The bathrooms in the courthouse can become fouled, especially during court cases, and are “nasty places to congregate,” according to Fuller.

Fuller said she is getting tired of having to perform janitorial services in the courthouse.

“I have personally cleaned the toilets since late February, since coronavirus came, I was originally doing both the men’s and women’s and about three days a week I was mopping and disinfecting the floors on the bottom level,” she said. 

“These are trying times, we’ve never been through COVID and a pandemic, everybody’s just lost their minds.”

Fuller said the employee bathroom was not nice and pretty and compared it to an unkept bathroom at a big box store.

“If you think for a minute that you would go into a Wal-Mart and sit down on a toilet that hadn’t been cleaned in 24 hours and it’s five o’clock that afternoon, no one would use it,” she said.

Fuller worries about other employees in the courthouse contracting COVID-19 since there had been a recent outbreak in the probate office.

“We already have four cases in the courthouse, we’ve had four cases of COVID, could possibly have more,” said Fuller.

Fuller cited CDC guidelines that high-touch surfaces should be cleaned continuously during the day including tables, door knobs, light switches and countertops.

Fuller said that she purposely props the front and rear doors of the courthouse open to cut down on visitors touching them.

Fuller said she wants to be a good servant to the public but needs help.

“I don’t know what the answer is but this ol’ girl is tired,” said Fuller.

The commissioners and Kim Brown, county administrator, discussed several options, including hiring a full-time employee and hiring through a tempforce to clean the 113-year-old courthouse and the Mountain Center, which houses county administrative offices and the Cleburne County EMA. 

The commission will discuss the matter at next week’s regular commission meeting.

In other business Brown told the commissioners that the phone system in the Mountain Center needs an update because calls are being dropped and rerouted to wrong extensions.

Brown said EMA calls are inadvertently being directed to her phone.

“I cannot get my job done,” Brown said.

The commissioner decided to put the matter on the consent agenda for approval next week. 

Lee Estes, Cleburne County engineer, said a widening and resurfacing project for 4.2 miles of County Road 10 will begin soon.

Over four miles of the road will be reworked at a cost of $976,917, which is $160,000 below the projected estimate according to Estes. The bulk of the funding will come from federal and state money. The county’s share will be $68,000 said Estes.

The commission will meet next Monday at 5 p.m. following the E911 board meeting which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Mountain Center. 

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