By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved of resolutions to amend the county’s current Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) defined benefit plan for Morgan County employees and to adopt a ACCG 401(a) defined contribution plan for all employees hired by the county on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

The resolution to amend the current ACCG defined benefit plan states that employees that are hired on or after Jan. 1, 2014, or that have a reemployment commencement date on or after Jan. 1, 2014, will not be eligible for the county’s current plan.

The amendments also make the positions of Magistrate Court Judge and Tax Commissioner ineligible for continuation under the current plan after Dec. 31, 2013, and eliminate the pre-retirement death benefit. Employees commencing or recommencing their hire on Jan. 1, 2014 will only be eligible for the ACCG 401(a) defined contribution plan.

The employees under the ACCG 401(a) plan will be required to make a mandatory employee contribution equal to 3 percent of their compensation, which the county will match. Morgan County Manager Michael Lamar stated that the savings to the county under the new plan after the current retirement benefit has been fully funded will be approximately $100,000 per year.

Lamar described the change in retirement benefits as a “practical step” that is the “right thing to do at the right time.” Morgan County Finance Director Lori Sayer described the defined contribution plan as a benefit to the employee, which serves as a type of “savings account for the employees.” The BOC also approved a bid proposal for a fire pumper for the new station at the Public Safety Complex. Morgan County Fire Chief Mark Melvin estimated that the bids would be approximately $275,000 and that the pumper would be paid for by SPLOST funds. The BOC also formalized agreements for the existing operating practices between the Morgan County and Greene County E911 Centers. Currently, if one or the other E911 centers encounters difficulties, they will reroute their calls through the other facility. The BOC approved compensation for the positions of Clerk of the Superior Court, Tax Commissioner, Magistrate Judge, and Probate Judge in the amount of $600 per year to cover a portion of their out of pocket contributions since those positions will no longer be on the county’s defined benefit retirement plan. Director of Continuing Education for Georgia Piedmont Technical College Katrina Young introduced herself to the BOC during the meeting and explained some of the programs that Piedmont currently offers. Ralph Castillo, CEO of Morgan Memorial Hospital gave a quarterly report to the BOC. The report highlighted the hospital’s Hospitalist program, which has allowed for a 69 percent increase in acute care admissions since its inception on Sept. 1, 2014, in relation to the amount of admissions during the same time frame last year. Commissioner Andrew Ainslie stated that the Hospitalist program has had a “big impact on [the] hospital.” During the meeting, the BOC also approved: a petition from RETEL Services for a conditional use permit to allow a 250-foot telecommunications tower on the property located at 3200 Godfrey Road. the applications for package sales of alcohol at the River Store, the Rainbow Food Store, Blue Springs Marina, Fairplay General Store, Katy’s Korner, the Buckhead Chevron, and Golden Pond. a motion to reappoint Frusana Hayes to the Advantage Behavioral Health Systems Community Service Board. a motion to reappoint George Holt to the Board of Elections and Registration. a motion to reappoint Annie Mosley, Janice Knight, and George Williams, III, to the Council in Aging Board. a motion to reappoint Wes Holt and John McMahon and appoint Dennis Myers to the Planning Commission. a motion to reappoint John Artz to the Tax Assessor Board. a motion to approve purchasing a full page advertisement in the 2014 Madison-Morgan Chamber map at the cost of $1,800.