Commissioner Mullins: ‘county vehicles should carry proper markings’

The Claiborne Commission will be exploring the idea during its next monthly meeting whether to have all county vehicles carry proper departmental markings. Commissioner Zach Mullins brought the idea to the floor last month, saying he would like to insure that a previously adopted resolution was enforced.

The matter was first broached in 2018, prompting the commission in 2019 to stash funds in the budget to cover the expense.

The issue was brought up once more during the February 2020 meeting of the commission in an effort to insure the various county departments were in compliance.

“These vehicles are county owned. They’re bought on county taxpayers’ dollars and run on county taxpayer dollars,” said Mullins.

He said county vehicles need to carry visible logo stickers, preferably on both side doors so that the public is not left wondering who is coming up their driveway or driving by their residence.

Commissioner Steve Brogan, who was the original sponsor of the resolution, asked county attorney James Estep III just how to go about handling the issue.

According to Estep, the commissioners could find themselves between a rock and a hard place if they attempt to enforce such legislation. He said that county departmental employees are not required by statute to carry their logos on their work vehicles.

“You can make it as strict and difficult and direct as you like or you can leave it as broad as it is. The only way to enforce it is with funding, but do you really want to go there,” said Estep. “It’s not a part of their job duties. If you go into court, you will lose.”

He recalled one incident while riding along with Ronnie Pittman, who is the superintendent of the County Road Department. Pittman has been the recipient of several threats for the way in which he handles the scheduling of county roadwork.

“In defense, I’ve talked to the road superintendent about it and there are times when he doesn’t need to be identified,” said Estep. “I’ve ridden in the truck with him and I’m glad we were not identified because we could have been shot. There was a dispute and we had law enforcement involved. Because he is hated at this particular location, I don’t want him to have to put (the departmental logo) on there.”

Commissioner Stacey Crawford, who is employed with the Road Department, said he would like to wait until the next meeting to further discuss the issue. Pittman was unable to be present during the June meeting.

The commission agreed to add it to the July meeting agenda, for discussion purposes only.