County won't renew engineer

The Russell County Commission will not renew the contract of County Engineer Richard Gohde when it expires next summer.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday not to renew Gohde, 56, after deliberating for more than an hour in closed session during Tuesday's commission meeting.

Gohde has been the county engineer for nearly two years, hired for the position in August 2005 after former County Engineer Cal Markert left to take a similar post in Baldwin County, Ala.

None of the commission members would comment on the decision after the meeting. But there had been obvious tension between Gohde and several commissioners in recent months.

Gohde left the county courthouse immediately after the vote and could not be reached at his office at the county highway department headquarters on Poorhouse Road in Seale.

"We're just not going to renew his contract when its ends in August 2008," said County Attorney Kenneth Funderburk.

Gohde, a New Jersey native, had worked as an engineer in the public and private sectors of the state since leaving the Army Corps of Engineers. He spent 23 years in the Panama Canal Zone while wit the Corps and also working in private business.

The contract between Gohde and the county commission included an initial salary of $85,000 a year with a three percent increase on October 2006, making his current salary $87,550.

The contract would have been automatically renewed at the end of its term had the county not given Gohde notice 60 days prior to its end.