MADISON — The Boone County Commission had its last regular session of 2020 in a virtual format on Dec. 29, but due to elected officials taking oaths of office following the meeting on this day, the commission held a portion of its meeting in person while observing state guidelines for social distancing and face coverings.
Taking oaths of office under the direction of Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson were Boone County Commissioner Jacob Messer, Boone County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Abbott and Boone County Assessor Scott Cook (re-elected).
In commission-related news, Sheriff-elect Chad Barker addressed the commission regarding promotions within his office due to a retiring captain. Additionally, he made the request to hire Chief Deputy Mark Abbott, which was unanimously approved by the commissioners who were present — President Craig Bratcher and Brett Kuhn.
Barker said Abbott would begin work on Jan. 1 with a starting salary of $63,200 annually.
In relation to promotions, which Barker communicated was based on testing, Deputy Daniel Cottrill moved into the corporal position within the office. Mike Foster was promoted to sergeant, Eric Eversole was promoted to lieutenant and Josh Weagel is the new captain.
Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the promotions.
In relation to another agenda item, Prosecuting Attorney Donna Taylor approached commissioners regarding a request to post the position of assistant prosecutor to fill a position that has been left vacant. Commissioners voted to allow the posting for the job. Additionally, confusion regarding office space in the Boone County Courthouse and more specifically, the prosecutor’s office, was addressed.
“In November, you guys received a letter from Jerry Swanson requesting the ability to use the law library for additional office space,” she said. “All three commissioners were here and you approved that on Nov. 17, 2020.”
She continued, “Instead of using the law library which is room 310 on the map of the courthouse, they moved into the law library in room 309. I just want clarification, did you give away an office that was occupied by an assistant prosecutor? Was the intent to allow multiple departments to use the law library during covid?”
Commissioner Kuhn quickly replied, “My understanding was that this was space that had previously been used by probation and it was a space that at one time was used by the circuit court and over time they reached an agreement with the prosecutor and Circuit Court, and now Probation is expanding and they are looking for additional office space, to my understanding.”
Taylor then said, “The law library, to my understanding, is rented by the Supreme Court and the public is to have access without closed doors.”
Commissioners Kuhn and Bratcher stated that they wanted time to review the information, the map and to physically walk the offices so they could reach a clear understanding of Prosecutor Taylor’s complaint.
Boone County Commission meetings are being held virtually until further notice.
Boone County Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Annex, third floor. Call 304-369-7303.