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Eckart’s term as commissioner comes to an end

Commissioner J.R. Eckart completed his final public meeting on the board Monday night after holding the District 2 seat for eight years. His fellow commissioners, Terry Miller and James Goldman, presented him with a commemorative plaque.
‘It’s been a great pleasure serving with you,’ said Goldman. ‘We will miss your intelligence.’
Goldman said Eckart’s computer knowledge will especially be missed.
‘I couldn’t find better people to serve with or a better community to serve for,’ said Eckart.
Eckart said he appreciated all the work by Auditor Pat Wolfe and chief deputy Heather Metcalf. Eckart then turned to his successor, Carl (Buck) Mathes, who was seated in the audience, and said, ‘I know you are going to do a good job.’
‘I’m no J.R. Eckart,’ said Mathes. ‘I can tell them where to plug the computer in; that’s about it.’
Goldman said Mathes has big shoes to fill to replace Eckart. Jokingly, Goldman said Eckart was responsible for keeping the board in session well past midnight on occasion during their evening meetings.
Miller said he considers Eckart a friend and any disagreements they had on the board were never held against each other, that they always walked out of a meeting laughing.
Eckart said he made some really good friends in the eight years as commissioner, including some he has lost, specifically naming Roy Pittman of the highway department who died in October.
‘I got to know him well. He was quite a character,’ Eckart said. ‘I’ve got a lot of fond memories.’
Eckart’s attempt at a third term came up short in the Republican primary when he finished third behind Councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads and former commissioner and councilman Kenny Saulman. Mathes then defeated Rhoads in the General Election, but not until after a recount.
In other matters Monday night, the board approved a skid steer bid of $43,136.12 from Bobcat Co. for the parks department, and a $3,495 bid for a trailer was awarded to Shoemaker Farm Equipment. The 61-horsepower skid steer includes a 74-inch bucket, stump grinder, forks, backhoe, claw and tracks. The council has approved $65,000 for the equipment.
Emergency Management Agency director Greg Reas asked the commissioners for $210,000 to continue debris removal from the Sept. 14 windstorm. Reas said they have run out of money and stopped removing debris. Work on debris removal is expected to last another two months, he said. Reas suggested a line item created with about $50,000 for such emergencies so crews can work without the delay of going through the government appropriation process. The board will address the matter at its next meeting.
The board approved a bid of $26,800 from Love Contractors Inc., based in Gaston for roof replacement at the highway department. The office has had severe leakage and has had to place covers on computers and other equipment.
The commissioners re-appointed Marcell Schoen to the alcohol beverage board, a yearly appointment.
Also, Goldman confirmed yesterday that Anna Morris was asked to step down as Harrison County Solid Waste District director. He said resum’s will be requested for the position at their next regular meeting, Monday morning at 8:30.