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Commission reinstates Castillow with back pay

By By JOHN WALLACE
Staff Writer
Donna Castillow has her job back, but she is not sure when she will return to her office.
Members of the Escambia County Commission voted 4-1 in favor of reinstating Castillow with back pay and benefits at the recommendation of the Personnel Appeals Board and Escambia County Attorney Thad Moore at a special-called meeting held Thursday morning. Commis-sioner Wiley Tait cast the lone dissenting vote.
He also said reinstating her does not mean a lawsuit will not be filed against the county when responding to a question by Tait.
He said if the commission follows the recommendation of the Appeals Board and reinstates Castillow with back pay and benefits it would "cut the legs out from under any lawsuit." However, he said Castillow can file a lawsuit regardless of what action the commission takes.
Donna Castillow said the commission did the "right thing" when they voted to reinstate her.
She said she will return to work but did not know when.
Despite being reinstated, Castillow said she still feels wronged.
Commissioner David Stokes said he appreciated the work of the members of the Appeals Board who presided over Castillow's hearing.
He said having an Appeals Board helps "take politics out of the picture" when dealing with these types of situations.
He then made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Junior Hall, to reinstate Castillow with back pay and benefits as recommended by the county attorney and the board.
The commissioners then voted 4-1 in favor of reinstating Castillow.
In other business, Escambia County Sheriff Tim Hawsey addressed the commission regarding a federal grant that provides funds to pay overtime. the program is structured to crackdown on DUIs, seat belt compliance and child restraint compliance. Under the program the county would pay the officers' overtime and then be reimbursed by ADECA through the Southwest Alabama Medical Center.
Hawsey said the system will benefit Escambia County.
The commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of adopting a resolution approving Hawsey's request to proceed with a grant application.
However, Hawsey's request that the pay status of the Chief Deputy be changed from salaried to hourly was tabled until the next meeting.
The commissioners also approved a utility agreement with the Atmore Utilities Board regarding a (approximate) one-mile long, three-inch water line along James Road in Nokomis that will travel to a water main on Johnson Road.
Another topic of discussion at the meeting revolved around the conditions of Buddy Lake Road.
Mason Fleming said the road is in deplorable conditions and asked for assistance to maintain the road. The commissioners delayed acting on his request pending a judge's decision that could make the road a public road.
Moore said he expects the judge to rule on the matter in the near future and possibly in the next two weeks.
Escambia County Commission Chairman Larry White then recessed the meeting.