Commissioners Proclaim Hunger Awareness Week, Consider D.A. Liability Coverage

Pictured are (from left): Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct; Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1; Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director; Allison Harbison Shelby County Judge; Ann Blackwell, SCOM Board Member; Peggy Buddin, SCOM Board member; Travis Rodgers, Commissioner Precinct 2; Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4.

June 8, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners' approved the proclamation of the second week in June as ‘Hunger Awareness Week” on behalf of Sherry Harding, Shelby County Outreach Ministries (SCOM) Executive Director.

Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director, held the attention of the courtroom as she spoke of the needs of the people of Shelby county.

Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director, held the attention of the courtroom as she spoke of the needs of the people of Shelby county.According to Harding there are five programs under the umbrella of SCOM with over 100 senior citizens being fed every week, Monday through Friday, and over 2,000 meals provided in May of which only 1,000 are they reimbursed. Helping Hands provides utility assistance, emergency food boxes and almost any need if funds are available. (See related event information here.)

"We are very appreciative because you do support us on a monthly basis and we ask if there are extra funds to consider us because we take care of a lot of needs," said Harding. "We're making a proclamation this week to let people be aware there are people hungry in Shelby County and we serve a lot of people and with this we hope to bring attention to that and look forward to trying to serve the needs of the community."

During the summer months, Harding says some children will not receive breakfast and noon meals because school is not in session. This increases the need for food boxes, "With the rain that we've had people couldn't work and we have a lot of food boxes going out plus utilities that we're having to pay, so everything is appreciated."

The commissioners chose to table the yearly renewal application for insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, sought to table the item until it can be considered further, "On the District Judge and District Attorney accept and reject on the box is not checked. We've had some discussion about this in the past, some one time we insured him and one time we didn't. Does this mean we're continuing the insurance for the district attorney or no?"

Allison Harbison, County Judge, stated it was her belief if the commissioners did not reject the coverage the District Attorney would be included in the plan. Judge Harbison offered for the item to be tabled until the next meeting as its start date is in October.

"My question about that is because in the past in the lawsuits we've been in, whether we did or did not have the insurance to cover them, they are a state employee the insurance didn't cover them no way," said McSwain. "Now this is some minimal fee that we pay to have that just as it ain't even a safety net if they're not liable to pay nothing for the damage."

The commissioners carried a motion to table the item until the next meeting.

According to Judge Harbison, she was urged by neighboring counties to issue a declaration of disaster regarding flooding within Shelby County and she did so on Monday, June 1, 2015.

"As of right now I haven't had any damage reported to me. I would imagine that y'all [commissioners] have had damage reported to you. What has been explained to me is if we were to ratify it that means that we have damages on roads and bridges that our budgets, your budgets cannot support. Also I've had no private people call and say they've had property damage," said Harbison.

She asked the commissioners if anyone in their precincts have had any damage and if it is necessary to ratify the declaration in an attempt to receive needed funding. Commissioner McSwain stated he easily had extra cost due to the weather, "I can easily supply bills on the extra cost that just my precinct has endured of at least $150,000 in the last four months due to the weather."

He stated this would have an effect on projects which are already planned. Commissioner Rodgers also stated he has had several roads closed due to weather and he has one road in his precinct which remains closed.

Agenda items receiving approval include:
1.  Minutes of the May 11th, 2015 Regular Meeting and the May 26th, 2015 Special Meeting.
    Pay monthly expenses.
2.  Officers' reports.
3.  Advertise for bids on oil for roads.
4.  Data use agreement between the Texas Health and Human Services Enterprise and Shelby County.
5.  Proclamation presented by Sherry Harding, Executive Director of Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc. designating the second week in June as Hunger Awareness Week.
6.  Ratify the Declaration of Disaster regarding the flooding within the county.
7.  Contract on the rental of old Elementary School gym to Denetra Slaughter and Celia Aguilar.
8.  Adjournment at 9:57am

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
    Shelby County yearly Renewal Application for Insurance Coverage through the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool for the following coverage: General Liability, Public Official Liability, Law Enforcement Liability and Crime Coverage.