The Pamelia Town Council moved Monday night to eliminate three-fifths of its highway positions and cancel a contract with Jefferson County to maintain more than 13 miles of county highways
Two of the positions — one full time, one part time — were vacant, Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway said, and the town was losing money by doing work under contract on the county's behalf.
The county paid the town $5,000 per mile to plow its roads in the town.
"This was actually costing us money," Mr. Longway said. "We're just not going to be doing that any more."
The third position belonged to Jeffery Dudley, a motor equipment operator, whom the Town Council fired Sept. 29 for allegedly entering the office of Highway Superintendent Dennis G. Hoistion and taking a picture of a snow and ice removal proposal.
State Judge Hugh A. Gilbert ordered the town to reinstate him Nov. 17, because the town had not followed due process mandated by state Civil Service Law. The town didn't serve Mr. Dudley with written notice or explain its actions, nor did it give him an opportunity to respond to — or appear at — a hearing with counsel, according to the judge's decision.
Mr. Dudley was working with Teamsters Local 687 to unionize. Mr. Longway said he discussed the plan to downsize the department with the group.
When asked Monday night whether the downsizing was related to Mr. Dudley's case or efforts to unionize, Mr. Longway said he didn't want to comment specifically on the case, but more information will come out with a hearing the town is having on the matter Jan. 4.
Mr. Longway said plans to drop the county contract have long been discussed.
"We've been talking about a year or two for not doing this kind of work for the county," he said.
In November, the board passed a budget that eliminated the three motor equipment operator positions. The town will save $95,000 by eliminating the positions. Based on a contract at $5,000 per mile, the town received $68,000 from the county.
Jefferson County Highway Superintendent James L. Lawrence Jr. said there are 13.6 miles of road that the county now will have to figure out how to plow. Mr. Lawrence said Monday that he wasn't sure how the change would affect staffing levels at the county.
Times staff writer Nancy Madsen contributed to this report.