The county commission shall be authorized to appoint a county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads who shall serve full time in such capacity for the county and the amount of whose salary shall be such sum as may be fixed by the said county commission payable in equal monthly installments from county funds available for that purpose when properly entered into the minutes of the county commission. Consulting engineers and/or consulting firms acting in the capacity as county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads shall not be permitted. The county may enter into a contract of employment of appointment to office of said engineer for a period of time not to exceed five years.
The person appointed as county engineer, or chief engineer of the division of public roads within the meaning of this article, shall be a registered professional engineer in the state of Alabama in good standing and, in addition, he shall have had not less than three years experience in the maintenance and construction of highways and bridges. The county engineer need not be qualified as a land surveyor in order for the state highway department to participate in the payment of a portion of said county engineer's salary as provided in section 11-6-4.
The county commission or like governing body of each of the several counties shall be authorized to appoint an engineer trainee as assistant to the county engineer who shall devote his full time to the duties of his office.
Any person appointed to the position of engineer trainee under the provisions of this article shall be a graduate engineer and a certified engineer intern as provided in Chapter 11 of Title 34, in the State of Alabama and in good standing; provided, that should an acceptable candidate possessing these qualifications not be available, such county may appoint as engineer trainee within the terms of this article a nongraduate certified engineer intern in good standing.
It shall be the duty of the engineer trainee, appointed under provisions of this article, subject to approval and direction of the county commission or like governing body, to assist the county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads of said county in all duties of said engineer as prescribed by law or as directed by the county commission and to perform such other duties as necessary and incident to the operation of the county highway system.
(a) Upon application of the county commission or like governing body of the several counties of the state, the Department of Transportation, upon approval of the Director of Transportation, shall participate in the salary of the engineer trainee in the county in an amount equal to 50 percent of the annual salary of the engineer trainee. The amount is to be paid to the county in equal monthly installments to reimburse the fund of the county from which the salary of the engineer trainee is paid.
(b) The amount contributed or paid by the Department of Transportation to any county under this article shall not include retirement contributions, Social Security, unemployment compensation, or other employee benefits, nor shall the amount contributed or paid exceed (1) 50 percent of the annual salary schedule of the Department of Transportation under the graduate civil engineer classification as established by the Department of Transportation for the year in which applied, or (2), in the case of an assistant to the county engineer who has served at least one year as an engineer trainee under this article and has qualified as a registered engineer in this state, 50 percent of the annual salary schedule of the Department of Transportation under the graduate registered engineer classification as established by the Department of Transportation for the year in which applied.
Engineer trainees appointed under provisions of this article shall in all respects be considered as employees of the counties by which employed.
The provisions of this article are cumulative and in addition to all other statutes providing for assistance to the several counties for the maintenance and betterment of public roads.
It shall be the duty of the said county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads, subject to the approval and direction of the county commission to:
(1) Employ, supervise and direct such assistants as are necessary to construct and maintain properly the county public roads, highways and bridges;
(2) Perform such engineering and surveying services as may be required to prepare and maintain the necessary maps, plans and records;
(3) Maintain the necessary accounting records to reflect the cost of constructing and maintaining the county highway system; and
(4) Perform such other duties as are necessary and incident to the operation of the county highway system as directed by the county commission.
When any county has established the office of county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads the state highway director may, upon application of the county commission, authorize the expenditure out of the available funds of the state highway department, of an amount equal to 70 percent of the annual salary of said engineer to such county, which shall apply to the payment of the salary, with such payments to be made in equal monthly installments; provided, that the amount contributed or paid by the state highway department to any county, not including retirement contributions, shall not exceed 70 percent of the salary schedule under the professional civil engineer II classification in any one year. The state highway director may discontinue such payment after 30 days' notice in writing to the county commission and to the county engineer or chief engineer of the division of public roads, unless otherwise agreed to in writing with the county by contract made and entered upon the records of the county commission.
In those counties whose employees are governed by a civil service or merit system law, the provisions of such law shall remain in full force and effect.
This article is not mandatory but is discretionary, remedial, cumulative and provides additional authority for the betterment of all county public road systems.