The Barrow County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to hire the county’s internal candidate as the new elections supervisor.

Katie Ferm has served as the interim supervisor since the December 2009 resignation of Kristi Royston, who left for a position in Gwinnett County, and has been an elections assistant in the Barrow County Board of Elections and Registration since 2005.

Human Resources Director Norma Jean Brown said she was the unanimous choice of the selection committee comprised of commissioners Billy Parks and Steve Worley, along with operations development manager Bob Hohe and Brown.

Brown said there were 75 applicants who were narrowed down to three finalists. On another personnel matter Tuesday night, the BOC voted to postpone a decision about hiring a vacant position in the Barrow County Tax Assessors Office. Worley said he wanted to talk personally with the supervisor of that department, Chief Appraiser Cecil Highfield.

The board was not united about another matter – spending $44,450 on a state-mandated value-engineering study to look for ways to reduce the costs of the West Winder Bypass project without reducing quality.

Three commissioners – Isaiah Berry, Ben Hendrix and Parks – voted against the measure, creating a 3 to 3 tie that BOC Chairman Danny Yearwood broke by voting yes. ARCADIS U.S., Inc., will perform the work.

Yearwood and Worley said the county was committed to the bypass project because of the $4 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes the county has collected and not spent.

However, those against the expenditure argued that the county should be using available funds to improve existing roads and particularly to add a turn lane on Hwy. 211 onto Barrow Park Drive, the site of the new criminal justice center.

In other business, the board voted to:

•approve a budget amendment of $159,800 for prisoner medical services at the Barrow County Detention Center. The funds will come from the county’s reserves.

•approve intergovernmental and interagency agreements with the Winder Police Department to establish a Barrow County Crime Task Force to address gang and illegal drug activity.

•approve the exclusion of the Barrow County Airport’s runways and taxiways from the airport’s stormwater fee assessment.

•approve the appointment of Jon Greeson to the county’s ethics board at the request of the county magistrate, sheriff, tax commissioner and clerk of court.

•approve the appointment of Jim Neu to the Barrow County chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

•approve the appointment of Worley to the Regional Solid Waste Authority.

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