HEFLIN — The Cleburne County Commission on Monday heard residents’ concerns about the possible closure of several county roads.
If the commission approves, County Road 439 and County Road 263 and portions of another road would be closed at the request of Hancock Timber Company and some landowners — but not all of them.
Cleburne County resident Scott Dennis, who owns 40 acres in the proposed area for road closures, voiced his opposition at the commission’s public hearing on the matter Monday and filed a written objection with the probate office on Monday.
Dennis said he does not want to lose access to his property if the public roads are vacated, citing questions about not having an easement to access his property.
“My main concern is we don’t want to get to a point where I have to learn how to fly a helicopter to get to this property,” Dennis said.
Commissioner Laura Cobb said the problem of illegal dumping creates a strong argument for closing the backroads, but she understood Dennis’s predicament.
“My biggest concern, I did not intend to ever landlock anyone,” Cobb said.
The commission and county attorney Jason Odom agreed to hold off until next month to make a decision so Dennis’ access issues can be worked out. Odom said the resolution to close the roads was not ready yet anyway.
The question of whether county employees can carry firearms on the job was discussed briefly after a county resident told them about an incident he had with his supervisor at the county road department.
Keith Fordham told the commission that he was terminated after two months on the job at the road department without explanation, adding that during the first six months of employment, an employee can be fired for any reason and that reason does not have to be disclosed.
When Fordham was cleaning out his locker, he said, he encountered his supervisor and asked him why he was terminated. Fordham said the supervisor told him that he did not have to disclose the reason. Fordham said he felt uneasy during the encounter because the supervisor was wearing a pistol on his side.
According to Cleburne County human resource officer Lisa Milinkovich on Tuesday afternoon, department heads have discretion over whether their employees can have weapons in the workplace.
“There is a policy just stating that the appointing authority, will authorize ... we don’t have a policy just for weapons, like in a list of offenses,” Milinkovich said.
Milinkovich said she is researching the issue and is reaching out to attorneys to make sure everything is good with the statements that Fordham made at the meeting Monday night.
The commission also voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda, which included:
— Supporting legislation during the 2019 regular legislative session to increase the rate of Alabama’s gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to be used for road and bridge repairs.
— Authorizing Cleburne County emergency manager Crystal Cavender to solicit bids for an outdoor warning siren to replace the damaged one at Coleman Lake.
— Additional funding for the coroner’s office which includes money for the deputy coroners.