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Posted: October 21, 2011 12:30 a.m.

No need for county administrator

The article by the Newton County Commission Chairman, Oct. 16, 2011, regarding a change in the county government structure demands a common sense response.

The change in question is the creation of a new position of county administrator to assume the responsibility for the management of the routine functions and services of the

County government. A full time professional manager in the position of county administrator and responsible to the elected Board of Commissioners would be an effective and efficient improvement to our county organization structure. The county administrator position will be an added resource of a professional manager able to focus and concentrate on management responsibilities without the pressures and concerns belonging to an elected political position but still with full accountability to the board.

This is also an opportunity for possible cost efficiencies through this position change and shift of responsibilities that would be significant. The administrator will assume operational functions from positions vacated through attrition over time as well. The reduction of the position of Commission Chairman with a six figure compensation package including benefits to a part time position without benefits will realize a significant cost savings to the taxpayers. In addition, the replacement of the existing administrative assistant position, which also carries a six figure total compensation package with benefits, to one of a professional manager in the county administrator position prevents adding a position to the county government and nets the taxpayer additional savings.

This issue surely is a discreet personnel task that should rightly be implemented by the elected County Commissioners and does not involve the filling of an elected office to be put forth to public referendum.

The citizens of this county are already frustrated by the U.S. Congress selecting appointees to a "Super Committee" to resolve our country’s deficit and spending issue and certainly do not need a committee appointed at the local level to spend two years doing research and development for the roles and responsibilities of a county administrator position.

Our elected County Commissioners are intimately familiar with the operational functions of our county government and capable of developing this position description.

There are many examples of successful County administrators and county managers that can be used to develop this position description that also bring the added benefit of lessons learned by comparable county organizations.

We do not need more big government through the addition of another government body empowered to conduct a protracted study at the county level.

Certainly the establishment of a management position in the organization structure that is not an elected official will infuse more stability to the execution of these roles and responsibilities than they being assigned to the Commission Chairman. The position can thus avoid the fluctuation of the election cycles.

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