Commission looks to beef up security

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The Madison County Commissioner’s Court discussed tightening security after youths had been found milling around the courthouse basement unattended.

Michael Cannain, supervisor for the Adult Probation and Parole Office for the county, said that of the four offices he supervises, security in Madison County is the worst.

Other items of note were a flimsy sheet of plexiglass dividing workers from patrons could be broken easily; several office doors in the hallway could be kicked open easily; and one door doesn’t extend fully to the ceiling.

He also said that several panic buttons don’t work.

County Judge C.E. McDaniel Jr. asked that Cannain compile a list of security needs and present it to him, and asked that Sheriff Travis Neeley perform a security review of the basement area.

In a separate matter, the commission discussed what McDaniel described as a issue plaguing the county for the last few months — the phone bill from ATT.

Neeley and county employee Ashley Lawrenz began researching the phone bill because the costs rose fairly significantly.

Neeley said they found that the Sheriff’s Office had 13 lines, five of which had never been used. Additionally, the SO had never chosen a long distance plan.

“The rep said we don’t have any kind of agreement, or contract, with the phone company,” Neeley said. “We were paying 40 cents a minute for long distance.”

Neeley said that by researching the bill, they were able to drop the expense from $850 monthly to $450.

County Auditor Tony Joyner said each year county departments had been reviewing their phone services, but the ultimate decision has been the purview of the County Judge.

“It’s always been up to the individual departments what services they require,” Joyner said. “But it’s not been directly with ATT; it’s been done through the (purchasing agent).”

The costs escalated in November after an agreement between the county and ATT expired, and costs went up from 4 cents to 40 cents per minute for long distance.

Joyner said the commissioner’s court will have to authorize a new agreement.

In other business, the county:

•appointed Madisonville City Manager Camilla Viator to replace Danny Singletary on the Brazos Valley Transportation Planning Committee; and

•approve a $71,009.48 Public Assistance Sub Grant for road work in the county.

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