• 84°

Edwards to serve another term on senior services board

MONTGOMERY — On Wednesday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) had its first board meeting following the 2019 legislative session. Gov. Kay Ivey appointed a new commissioner for the department along with some new board members. Among the holdover board members is Ray Edwards of Valley, who will have 20 years of service on the ADSS board at the completion of his new term.

“I thank the governor on having reappointing me,” Edwards said. “Serving on this board means a lot to me, and it’s an honor to continue to work on behalf of Alabama senior citizens.”

Ivey is the third governor to have appointed Edwards to a term on the ADSS. Bob Riley did it twice, and Robert Bentley once. They will be serving four-year terms.

Edwards was highly complementary of the new commissioner, Jean W. Brown.

“I am very confident she will serve this board extremely well,” he said.

Brown said that she had some misgivings at first about serving in this cabinet-level position.

“All of my jobs have been in the legal profession,” she said. “This job is a ministry. It helps people.”

Brown’s background includes a term on the Alabama Supreme Court. A graduate of Samford University and the University of Alabama School of Law, she worked in the office of the Alabama Attorney General for 20 years. She’s been a legal advisor for three Alabama secretaries of state and has served on the state’s court of criminal appeals.

At one point along the way, Edwards’ son was a law clerk for her.

“It’s high time we had a meeting of this advisory board,” said Brown, opening the meeting. She’s been the ADSS commissioner for approximately one month.

The board took no official action since a quorum was not present. Nine members had to be present for that, and only eight were there.

There was an extensive discussion about the state’s new vendor for the meals that go to Alabama senior centers. Since October, Florida-based GA Foods has had the contract. They have succeeded Valley Foods of Montgomery, which had previously provided the meals. According to the ADSS, the new company got off to a rocky start, resulting in lots of complaints from senior centers. In some cases, milk was spoiled and in other cases seniors complained of green beans being too soft and cornbread being too sweet.

Brown said that getting off to a good start is sometimes difficult for a statewide food provider. There are more than 330 senior centers in Alabama. An estimated 16,000 hot meals and 6,000 door-to-door meals are provided each day five days a week. She added that there had been some noticeable improvement on the part of GA Foods.

Pulling a contract is not a simple matter. There would have to be means of providing the meals while a new contract was worked out from the start. Rigid federal guidelines are in place governing meals served in senior centers.

“This is not a good situation,” said State Sen. Jim McClendon, a member of the board. “We’ve had problems with food service in Valley, but I do think it’s getting better.”

Dr. Steve Donald, a primary care physician from Washington County said that there are large swaths of rural Alabama where it’s hard to get the word out about services that are available. Board member Ann Anderson of Madison agreed.

“It’s heartbreaking to come across people in need of basic services and don’t know about them,” she said. “We need to find better ways of informing people in what’s available for them.”

Edwards invited all board members to come to Valley this October as Valley Community Center plays host to the 2019 Alabama State Masters Games.

“I hope to see you all there,” he said.

The Alabama Department of Senior Services has an annual budget of approximately $55 million, $29 million of that comes from the general fund and $20 on Medicaid waivers.

News

Gov. Ivey to visit Bradshaw-Chambers County Library

News

Sheriff’s office launches internal investigation

News

Bradshaw-Chambers County Library set to tackle hunger

News

Publix: Only officers should openly carry guns in its stores

News

Georgia port reopens 4 days after overturned ship closed it

News

Troup County firefighters presented with Teamwork Award at awards banquet

News

Lanett City Schools adopts new budget

News

Identity released of man found dead near substation in Valley

News

Chambers County Board of Education passes budget

News

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia makes 3 millionth vehicle in West Point

News

Riverview community has several events to look forward to the next few weeks

News

Valley Kiwanis Club hosts EAMC-Lanier rehabilitation unit

News

Lanett First United Methodist Church hosts supper for first responders

News

David Anthony Pike pleads guilty in federal court; still faces murder charges in Chambers County from 1985

News

West Point Elementary School replaces media center carpet

News

Bass Nation fishing tournament brings tourism to West Point Lake

News

UPDATE: Lanett man arrested for failing to pull over for police and running into woods

News

Lanett man arrested for failing to pull over for police

News

Georgia universities, exempt from Kemp cuts, seek more money

News

Troup County finance director retiring

News

West Point Council lowers rental rates at Depot, Virginia Cook Center

News

West Point man arrested after failing to comply with police

News

Georgia governor speaks at tourism conference in LaGrange

News

LaGrange Fire Department climbs stairs in honor of 9/11 victims