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ANDERSON — The Madison County commissioners have named Al Epperly as interim property manager to oversee county facilities.

Epperly, a former properties manager, replaces Kent Odom who left the county’s employment on Monday.

Citing it as a personnel matter, the commissioners declined at Monday’s meeting to say if Odom left voluntarily or was terminated.

The commissioners also approved a motion by Mike Phipps to request salary increases in 2020 for several department heads and employees who work for the commissioners.

The Madison County Council has requested that no pay raises be included when elected officials and department heads submit their 2020 budget requests.

Phipps’ motion was to provide $10,000 pay increases for the county highway engineer, director of the IT Department, Human Resources director and county administrator.

The increases range from 11% to 21%.

Joe Copeland, the county’s engineer, currently is paid $90,000 and would receive an 11% increase.

Lisa Cannon, the IT director, would receive a 14% increase on her current salary of $70,060.

Administrator Tim Westerfield would get a 21% increase on his salary of $47,951 and HR Director Beatrice Ramey’s salary of $47,476 would be increased by 21%.

Phipps’ motion would also give three IT employees a $10,000 raise each if their job duties include cybersecurity.

The motion would also provide a 3% increase for employees who work for the commissioners.

Any pay increases would have to be approved by the Madison County Council during the 2020 budget discussions.

“These are key positions,” Phipps said. “Their pay is low when compared to comparable positions working for other local units of government in the state.

“We’re competing with private companies,” he said. “Baltimore was recently hit with a ransomware demand that shut down their government operations.”

Phipps also said that the County Council’s hiring freeze resolution adopted in 2018 exceeded their authority.

The commissioners are trying to fill the vacant drainage coordinator position, which has not been before the County Council’s Personnel Committee for approval.

Phipps said numerous other officeholders have not followed the guidelines established by the council when vacant positions were filled.

“I disagree with the resolution,” he said. “It goes beyond the authority of the county council as the fiscal body.”

Kelly Gaskill, president of the Madison County Board of Commissioners, said several people have applied for the job, but the Personnel Committee has not met.

“We’ve kicked the can down the road,” she said. “We need to fill the position.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.