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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Hightower sworn in as District 1 commissioner

New Linn County Commissioner Jason Hightower, right, is sworn by County Clerk David Lamb. Hightower during Monday's commission meeting. Hightower is the District 1 representative to the commission. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commission started out the new year with several changes at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 9. Having cast his last vote on last week’s minutes and this week’s bills, District 1 Commissioner Rick James was replaced by newly elected Jason Hightower.

After Hightower was sworn in, county department heads and employees presented a plaque to James acknowledging his eight years of dedicated service to the county and held a brief going away party before getting back to business.

James, who did not run for reelection thanked everyone for coming to his final day in office and everyone who had come to meetings. He said that he intended from the start to just serve two terms and wished that all politicians would consider doing the same.

He thanked the previous District 1 Commissioner Herb Pemberton, who talked with him a long time before he decided to run. He also thanked former District 2 Commissioner Vicki Leonard and former District 3 Commissioner Mike Page for the time he had served with them.

He told the District 2 Commissioner Danny McCullough and District 3 Commissioner Jim Johnson that he had thoroughly enjoyed working with them. He wished the best of luck to Hightower.

Outgoing Commissioner Rick James, right, is presented with a certificate honoring his eight years as District No. 1 representative by Commission Chair Jim Johnson. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Then the commission was reorganized with McCullough being voted in as chair, Hightower as vice-chair, and Johnson as a member. Johnson served as commission chair in 2022.

Later in the meeting some new ideas were brought up about the way the commission operates. McCullough suggested having two meetings weekly instead of one.

He suggested that the first meeting would entail gathering information with the second meeting the next day where commissioners would make the decisions. He said he would like to have time to think about the information and consider how the decision would affect people before making a decision.

It was decided that County Clerk David Lamb and County Counselor Gary Thompson would put together a policy that presentations and requests by department heads be turned in ahead of time to Lamb and he would send out the packets by email to the commissioners the Thursday before the meeting. Part of the policy would include the deadline for department heads to turn in the information to Lamb.

Public Works Director Shaun West said he and Lamb had discussed this before, and he and his staff had thought it was a great idea because it would save on a lot of paper.

This brought up a suggestion by Thompson that the county purchase inexpensive electronic tablets for commissioners to read the information on.

Hightower brought up that he thought the commissioners should have county-issued cell phones. Hightower said that he thought that would keep county business separate from the commissioner’s personal business. Lamb suggested that they have Information Technology Director Chris Martin look into that.

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