Wharton County commissioners were unanimous last week in creating a “building consultant” post and offering it to former maintenance supervisor Paul Shannon.

His hiring, contingent on passing a background check, comes with a $30 per hour pay rate, limited to no more than 29 hours per week. Shannon requested his job description in a written contract, expected after a pending meeting with County Judge Phillip Spenrath and County Attorney Trey Maffett.

If he agrees to do consulting work, Shannon’s hiring would be effective immediately, but a schedule was not discussed.

The newly-created position would be funded in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1.

The proposed budget, currently under discussion, lists $10,000 being paid out of the general fund for one-time services maintenance consulting. Spenrath anticipates Shannon, should he agree to consult, working a couple of weeks when the opportunity arises for no more than two years.

Shannon, 64, retired effective Dec. 31, 2020 after serving 21 years as the county’s maintenance supervisor. When he announced his retirement in December, elected officials discussed having Shannon continue in a limited consulting role.

Commissioners in May unanimously hired Greg Palmisano to be the interim maintenance supervisor for $45,000 annually, including an annual uniform allowance of $350, a yearly cell phone allowance of $540, and the use of a vehicle to and from work.

Palmisano, upon becoming the official maintenance supervisor in November, would have his salary raised to $50,000. The department has one employee, Frank Olsovsky, who maintains 15 county buildings alongside Palmisano.

County Treasurer Donna Thornton asked what Palmisano’s role would be when Shannon begins consulting.

“The whole point is to bring Paul in to help Greg with things,” Spenrath said.“This is no reflection on anyone who works in the maintenance department.

“Paul has vast knowledge of many of the county buildings and will report to me as a representative of the commissioners court.”

Among pending projects are holiday work setting up and breaking down the Christmas tree on the grounds of the Wharton County Courthouse, gutter work for all county buildings, sand blasting and power washes.

In accordance with county policy, Shannon would not receive health insurance or retirement benefits as a temporary employee.

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