Glynn County Commissioners voted to enter into another contract with Savannah-based planning and zoning consultant Denise Grabowski, this time for up to $40,000, while the county continues to try to fill the empty positions in the planning and zoning division of the Community Development Department.
This new contract isn’t a guarantee that Grabowski will be paid $40,000, but that the county is setting aside that much for her. She is currently being paid $150 an hour, and the contract is good until the end of the fiscal year, June 30.
County commissioners have approved two contracts for her services already, one for up to $25,000 from November to January, and one for $30,000 from January to April, meaning Grabowski could earn up to $95,000 for eight months of work.
“I’ve got serious concerns about the taxpayer getting bang for their buck here,” said Commissioner Bob Coleman. “We’ve got $95,000 sitting in front of us to pay this one person who doesn’t even live in Glynn County.”
Coleman didn’t want to go into the contract, saying the commission should invest the money into the search for planners, which has led to no hires. He suggested that the $40,000 contract be noted as the last one, thinking that it may inject more motivation into the hunt.
Commissioner Mike Browning pointed out that they weren’t obligated to pay the full amount, and they would no long need her services should they hire new planners before the contract period is up in June.
The county is getting value from Grabowski, Stambaugh said, saying that even if they paid her the full $95,000, it would still be less than what it would cost to employ a full planning staff.
The commission accepted the proposal 6-1, with only Coleman opposed.
Planning and zoning is currently three hands short, only having one planner. Community Development Director Pamela Thompson has been filling in while she hunts for more staff.
The first planner left in July of 2016, follow by another planner shortly after and former director of community development David Hainley. One planner manned the office for a short while, until Grabowski was hired in November and Thompson in January. A planning manager position was created shortly before July, but was only filled for less than a month in November.
Thompson said she had recently traveled to Atlanta to search for planners, and said she thought she had established good leads.
In other business, the commission approved a change in plans for the Oak Grove Island causeway pipe rehab project. The issue with the pipe that goes under the road can’t be solved indefinitely, but County Engineer Paul Andrews said the alterations to the plan will extend the lifespan of the pipe significantly.
The next meeting of the Glynn County Commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 4, in the Old Glynn County Courthouse, 701 G St. in Brunswick.