Letter to the Editor: Lee County jeopardy: What is a bond?


Dear Editor,
Since the Commission and its Chairman have declined to explain why the County Engineer was un-bonded for nearly five years, a requirement of state law, this question is posed to the citizens of Lee County.
LAWS:  Code of Alabama, Section 45-41-130.01:   “Before commencing his duties, the County Engineer shall enter into a bond for faithful performance of his duties”.  Section 11-2-3: “the bonds of all county employees shall be filed in the office of the Judge of Probate”.  Section 36-5-22: “a public officer required by law to give bond, who performs any official act before his bond is approved,…must on conviction be fined not less than $500”.  Section 36-25-1 (27) defines a “public official” as any person appointed to a public position in the … county government.  Section 36-5-15: “failure of officer to give bond within the time fixed by law, vacates office”.  Section 36-5-17: “any officer who omits to give notice of failure by a public officer to file his official bond, must, on conviction, be fined not less than $100.”
FACTS:  The County Engineer was appointed to office May 2012, but wasn’t bonded until January 31, 2017.  He performed “official” acts for nearly five years before entering into a bond.  If the Engineer is a “public officer”, the Chairman must notify the DA of the Engineer’s failure to bond and the Engineer is subject to fines and removal from office.   The Probate Judge has not accounted for failure to ensure the Engineer’s bonding.  It is unclear whether the Engineer is construed as an officer or an employee. It is certain that the Engineer is required to be bonded before performance of the duties of his office.                                                                                                                                           QUESTION:  This and other issues have been brought to the Commission, but Judge English declared the Commission does not answer questions.  Since Alabama Code requirement to bond was violated, how many County Regulations have similarly been violated by the Commission?  Having attended years of Commission meetings, I have seen violations, the most egregious of which is Commission failure to enforce Lee County Access Management Policy.  Shouldn’t the County Commission be held to the required standards of process, transparency and accountability?
Peter Byrd