County approves Web manager despite residents' complaints

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved a change in the classification of a website content and design analyst in the Management Information Systems department despite objections from residents and Commissioner JaNice Van Ness.

Rockdale resident Sam Smiley stated during the public comment session of Tuesday's meeting that he did not understand why money was being spent to hire a new employee when there were already two fulltime employees and two interns in the department.

"It hasn't been that long ago I heard Chairman (Richard) Oden talk about how fiscally responsible he is, and his administration has been," Smiley said. "My question is why are we going to spend to hire more employees to do the same thing that we did in the previous administration with four people?"

Resident Gerre Byrd raised concerns similar to Smiley's.

"I'm glad that Sam Smiley spoke before I did, because I wasn't sure I misunderstood Mr. Oden the other day on Channel 23 when he was bragging about being fiscally responsible," Byrd said. "I don't believe you've been fiscally responsible since you've come into office. I feel like what's important to you is you and your friends, not the people in the county."

The position outlined requires candidates to have a minimum of three to five years of experience managing content, design and code writing for websites; a bachelor's degree in technical writing, English, journalism or a related field; and be skilled in CMS platforms, Adobe, Java, Flash and Photoshop programs, according to the job description. The budget for this position is $20,000.

"My understanding, if I'm hearing this correctly, this position is allotted for about $20,000 plus. That's a lot of work, a lot of expertise for $20,000," Commissioner Oz Nesbitt said.

Commissioner Van Ness expressed some budgetary concerns and suggested the board defer the classification approval until the next budget cycle.

Nesbitt asked MIS director James Howard how critical this position was to the MIS department and how soon the department needed it filled. Howard replied that at this time there was no one in the department with the skill set needed to fulfill the duties of Web content manager and someone was needed as soon as possible.

"This job is essentially the facilitator for all of the Rockdale County websites. That's for all departments, building schedules, maintaining building schedules, maintaining a calendar for all departments," Howard said.

The board approved the classification change in a 2-1 vote.

The BOC also deferred the approval of contracts pertaining to insurance benefits for county employees. The present contracts are scheduled to end July 31.

Benefits have been extended for Mutual of Omaha and Ameritas Group through Dec. 31. Bids are still being accepted for the third benefits package, and are due on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Correction July 28, 2011: The article was revised to show James Howell is the director of the Rockdale County MIS Department. Also, a clarification: Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden mispoke in saying there are two paid interns in the county's Community Affairs and Innovative Programs (CRIP) Department. The CRIP Department said it has five paid interns funded through a grant. The Citizen regrets the error.