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Scott still enjoying his time as county commissioner

Heavener Ledger of Heavener, Oklahoma

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Ceb Scott is getting ready for his second term in the best job he's ever had.

Scott, of Hodgen, was re-elected as District 3 county commissioner a few months back and will be sworn in for his second term at the first of the year.

"I really like it," said Scott, a 1976 graduate of Heavener who has been married to his wife, Annette, for 38 years. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren. "This is the best job I've ever had. If we had enough money, anybody could do it. We've got to figure out what we can do."

He is now 57 years old and was relieved when the voters elected him for another term.

"I would have had to go look for another job," he said. "I've worked all my life."

After serving four years, Scott said it was the bad things that have happened over these four years that have been the most memorable.

"What makes it good is when there is a disaster," he said. "Every year we have had one and we can help somebody. The people say thank you to the men and me. We've had a hundred year flood and a five hundred year flood. The thanks are what make you feel good."

Times are tough for all government entities due to a lack of money, and that is certainly true as a LeFlore County commissioner.

The lack of funds brings about the toughest part of the job.

"Watching the roads deteriorate and not having the money to do anything about it," Scott said. "People want us to fix the roads, but we don't have the money. We have to decide which roads to do. The money is better now because of the economy."

District 3 is by far the biggest of the three districts in the county with some 510 miles in the district.

"We may get to do six to eight miles a year of chipping and sealing a year," he said. "That's all we can afford to do."

Scott said he is always looking for grants to help out, but unfortunately there are not many available. There are 23 employees in the district with a crew at Talihina and one at Octavia.

Having crews in Talihina and Octavia have paid off, however.

Last year there were a pair of ice storms which prevented the Heavener crew from being able to help, but the crews in the southern part of the county were able to do the necessary work.

Scott started working for the county in 1992 after working 16 years with KCS.

One of the frustrating parts of serving as county commissioner has been sharing the money the county receives from the forest service with the other two districts, even though almost all the forest roads in the county are in his district.

The county receives between $ 120 thousand to $140 thousand a year, divided equally among the three districts.

Still, although Scott does not like the way that has been handled, he does have a good working relationship with the other two commissioners, Lance Smith in Poteau and Derwin Gist in Spiro.

"We work fine together," Scott said. "If one of us is having a problem the other two help."

The county is also in better shape financially now than when Scott and Gist took over four years ago.

Scott had to loan out a dump truck to Gist and help with fuel purchases. It also makes it difficult having two other crews in his district as there has to be electrical and water bills for each office, along with each crew needing the same equipment..

He did say there is a stretch of road from Octavia to Zafra that bothers him and is probably the worst road in the county. It is a road the residents use often to get to and from Mena, which they primarily use to shop and visit doctors.

"I'm ashamed of it," he said. "I wish we had the dollars to fix it. There's no telling how many millions it would take."

He does not receive many complaints, though, as the residents know the county simply does not have the funds to fix the road.

Scott has overseen the replacement of a couple of bridges in his district and expects some more will need to be replaced, especially one at Big Creek and a couple in Talihina.



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Original Publication Date: December 4, 2014



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