JONESVILLE — Multiple employees were recognized by the town of Jonesville at the June town council meeting for characteristics cultivated by the community.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” said Council Member Andy Green, relating how he had watched members of the Public Works Department struggle with a water leak on June 1.
“I observed something. I stood back and watched just a second. The right hand knew what the left hand was doing. Their chain was going in the right direction.”
This was important not only to getting the leak fixed, but in the future of the town.
Town employee Josh Matthews had taken a test for Class A Water Distribution certification the day before.
Several town employees including administrative staff and police officers have sought out additional training as a result of recent changes.
“We want to retain our people, but we want them to be the best they can be,” said Town Manager Michael Pardue during his presentation at the first budget retreat session, explaining that additional training improves services for the entire community.
“I’m thankful our employees are engaged in improving their skills. This only makes our chain in Jonesville stronger,” said Green, describing how intimidating some of the training can be with only 30 percent expected to pass the test Matthews took on May 30.
“I could see the concern on his face,” said Green about his conversation with Matthews worrying over the exam results.
“He said, ‘You know I’ve studied, I prepared, I prepped. I’ve took it. I put it all out there. I’ve done the best I could do, but if I don’t pass, I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and I’m going to go right back and take it [again].’ And that meant a lot to me,” said Green.
Finance Clerk Wendy Thompson also was touched by the dedication of Tasha Ferguson, office manager for the Jonesville Police Department, who also studied, prepped and prepared for certification testing.
“This spring one of our employees decided that she needed to know the rules and requirements for our finances and how local government worked,” said Thompson. Ferguson took a 12-week class with one four-hour class each week and 11 exams.
“Being that she’s never been in governmental accounting, this was really hard,” said Thompson, revealing Ferguson had received stellar marks throughout the class.
“One of the largest challenges is learning the vocabulary and how to apply it every day so that when someone’s talking to you, you don’t look lost. A lot of times the words do seem Greek or they are used one way in the private sector versus the public sector,” said Thompson.
Like Matthews’ classwork, the additional training Ferguson received has already been applied to assist the town.
“She’s already put it to work,” said Thompson.
“She jumped in and helped with the budget this year. She helped prepare, helped proof it, helped come up with the figures. She’s been reviewing all the paperwork for her department, invoices, contracts, everything that comes across her desk in more detail. I’m very proud of her hard work.”
Such certifications also are appealing to the Local Government Commission, which monitors and regulates municipalities on behalf of the state of North Carolina.
“This is a great accomplishment,” said Green. He congratulated Matthews on passing the test he was concerned about. “All the hard work has paid off and we’re proud of Josh.”
“These guys do not get enough thank yous,” said Utilities Director Tim Collins. “When things get tough, I’d rather have this bunch than anybody.”
Sometimes things get unexpectedly tough as some Public Works employees find themselves helping out with other departments.
Arlington Fire Chief Kevin Macemore expressed appreciation for the kitten rescue performed by John Hamby during his brief fire department report.
“We have a great staff here in the town of Jonesville,” said Green. “Everybody’s willing to help out. Each department is willing to rise to the occasion performing fairly well in response to a special situation or event.”
Green described Hamby’s action that lead to his recognition.
“With a sense of emergency going above and beyond the call of duty, Johnny sprang into action. Without thinking about himself and with his big heart, he rescued this kitten from the storm drain. We all need to ‘paws’ just for a second and say thank you,” said Green.
He presented Hamby with “the whole kit and caboodle award for always being ready to serve with a smile no matter what resident, human or animal, here in Jonesville.”
Referring to the entire Public Works Department, Interim Administrative Police Chief Dane Mastin agreed.
“We’ve had accidents or people that have called in with hazards to the road or the storm drains is stopped up or the roads covered over something. We call in these guys, and in about 15 minutes, it’s cleared. They are right there and they’ve never fussed or cursed at least not at us that I’m aware of.”
Not all citizens are avoiding fussing and cussing, however, as nuisance properties and neglected animals are being addressed.
Pardue explained that he has been addressing several complaints with many of them resolved through conversations and notices; however, some have caused consultations with Town Attorney Andrew Brown.
“We want to take care of these animals, but mostly we want our people to be safe,” said Pardue, acknowledging that ordinances may need to be reviewed.
The town will hold a special meeting June 29 at 8:30 a.m. to have a public hearing on the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.