Pulaski County Council Approves Budget Transfers, Highway Department Personnel Change

The Pulaski County Council has approved a bit of a personnel change for the County Highway Department.

Highway Superintendent Terry Ruff explained to council members Monday that his road foreman is leaving. Instead of hiring a direct replacement, Ruff requested to add another laborer to the department, instead. “He’d be making $13.63 an hour. Our road foreman would’ve been making $17.91 an hour,” Ruff said. “So I don’t really understand why it’s so complicated, I guess.”

However, he said the road foreman position will be kept open, in case they want to hire someone in the future. Council members approved Ruff’s request unanimously.

They also approved some funding arrangements for an upcoming road project. A total of $165,000 from last year’s special Local Option Income Tax distribution was transferred into the Community Crossings Matching Grant Fund to purchase stone and oil.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the council approved a budget transfer request from Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn to cover the cost of court-appointed psychiatrists. He explained they help determine if defendants are competent to stand trial, or in other cases, if they were insane when they allegedly committed a crime. “You have to appoint two or three disinterested psychiatrists to examine them a number of times,” Shurn said. “That’s very expensive. So that is the Examination of Prisoners [line item]. We’re essentially out of money on that already. We still have some money in Witness Fees, and then we’ll have to have full-blown hearings on those issues, then those psychiatrists come and testify.”

The council approved the transfer of $7,000 from Witness Fees to Examination of Prisoners to pay the outstanding bills for psychiatric evaluations. Judge Shurn also plans to request an additional appropriation of $17,000 to replenish the Witness Fees line item and to have enough money on hand to pay the psychiatrists when they testify in court.