By Faye Gaston
Henry Barnett was appointed Bullock County Commissioner of District 4 on January 18, 2019. He said a lot of people encouraged him to make an application.
There was a screening process, and then he received a phone call that he was appointed. An official letter came from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and a certificate from the Secretary of State.
The following are his views in an interview concerning the service of the Bullock County Commission. He said even though he represents District 4, he wants each district to be treated fairly. The County Commission has recently approved per diem for travel for all county employees, another level of accountability for expenses.
He has a good working relationship with the other County Commissioners and has attended Development Authority and Hospital Board meetings.
To help economic development, he would like to see additional hangers for private planes as well as corporate jets. We can accommodate the jets with the recent expansion of the runway, all private hangers are leased.
He said the local prison helps the economy with the utilities generated and visitors to the prison purchasing gasoline and food. It is the only mental health prison in the state.
The County Commission is working closely with the Governor's office and working diligently to keep the prison here. Located on 120 acres there is room to expand.
He said the County Commission is working to help the local hospital survive and opening up new avenues for the hospital to operate. Our hospital is vital to maintaining existing business and also attracting new business.
He said, "There is a big striping job of a highway coming up and paving projects are planned. The new gasoline tax will help, but the county still has to match funds for many projects.
"We expect to see a gradual increase in funds from the tax around January 2020. We want all roads in the county to be in excellent shape, we just don’t have the funding that we need to get a lot of projects done.
"The County Commission will start on the budget next month, I am looking forward to learning more about the allocation of monies and how we can best help all agencies."
The County Commission meets the second Monday of each month with very few of the public in attendance. He would like more people to attend. His previous work experience has been in sales and law enforcement.
With the appointment by the Department of Public Safety and approval of the Governor, he worked in the Executive Protection Unit for the security of Governor Siegleman and Governor Riley and others. He was stationed at the Governor's Mansion and also provided advanced security for dignitaries.
His family has been involved in agriculture for many decades in Fitzpatrick.
He said,"Many people come to me and say they remember my uncle Dr. Hill Barnett, he was a dentist for many years in Union Springs." He is very active in the Greenwood-Fitzpatrick Volunteer Fire Department.
He said, "People need to get involved in their local fire departments, it’s not just going to fires, departments need people to help raise funds, work at the stations and many more opportunities are available.
He will be a candidate (Democrat) in the next election, seeking to stay in office.