The newly appointed Newton County Solid Waste Authority’s board of directors named its chair and set its meetings calendar during its first meeting Monday.
After the board decided to meet twice a month while the solid waste authority (SWA) got started, member Keith Ellis made a motion to name Wayne Haynie as chair. Fellow SWA member Sharon Sawyer seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Haynie served as chair for the citizen committee formed by the Newton County Board of Commissioners to examine the county’s solid waste. That committee recommended the forming of an authority, which also included Sawyer.
“I think Wayne did an excellent job when we were in the committee,” Sawyer said. “He was an outstanding chairman, and I think he’ll be an asset to the board.”
Haynie said that he would do it, but not in place of someone else, and that he thought a member of the Spring Hill community should be the chair. Both Sawyer and SWA board of directors member, Phillip Wise live in Spring Hill, the community where the Newton County landfill is.
“Everything we do communicates,” Haynie said. “I think it will speak volumes if a member of the community where the landfill is, is the chair.”
Before Monday’s meeting Haynie spoke with Wise, who said his work keeps him too busy to serve as the authority’s chair.
“I think [Haynie] is an excellent choice,” Wise said. “My schedule would not allow me to serve as chair now. Just being on this board, I feel, as well as Miss. Sharon, we can still serve our community.”
With that, the eight-member board unanimously voted Haynie the chair, on a one-year term, with Wise as vice chair.
The SWA’s board of directors then decided on Newton County employee Crystal Dooley as clerk and Jarrard & Davis as the authority’s attorney until more of a direction is determined.
The SWA’s board of directors set a meeting calendar for a work session the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and a regular meeting the third Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m.
Other action items were forming an interview committee of Bob Stafford, Sawyer and Haynie and an RFP (Request for Proposal) committee of Lanier Sims, Ronnie Johnston and Haynie.
Johnston, the Mayor of Covington, suggested the authority start off with transparency and should make everything it does known to the public.
“We owe it to our community and each other that these decisions we have to make,” Johnston said.
Nancy Schulz suggested the meetings should be videoed and Sims began a discussion about the SWA forming a website.
“We could video our meetings and put up a website with all our meeting minutes and everything added once a month,” Sims said. “People can jump on there and get that information.”
He offered to video the meetings for the next few months, free of charge, and make it available to the public.
“There are already rumors and misconceptions about what we’re doing tonight,” Schulz said. “We need to get in front of that. The more we can get out in the media and in the news, then when decisions are made, people can see what the discussions were at that time.”