• Last modified 536 days ago (Dec. 8, 2022)


Commissioners set to vote on administrator

Staff writer

Despite a non-binding 2017 referendum in which voters rejected the idea 1,192-962, Marion County commissioners are poised to vote Monday to create a county administrator position.

At their meeting last week, commissioners heard from the public in support of the idea, reviewed a proposed resolution to create the position, and set the matter to be discussed Monday.

Among those speaking in favor of hiring an administrator was retired judge Michael Powers.

Powers said that when he came to Marion County in 1991, the judicial system was “a mess.”

Eventually, operation of the court system was improved.

“My own thought is, it would be so much better if you had someone to work the details for you,” Powers said. “I think you could find a better, more functional organization.”

Marion city administrator Mark Skiles said he thought commissioners should hire someone with experience.

Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston told commissioners the council there still was fixing problems from before the city had an administrator.

He recommended that commissioners hire an experienced person to search for an administrator.

Hillsboro’s city administrator Matt Stiles is efficient and has helped the city do things that save money, Thurston said.

Thurston said that having a county administrator would allow commissioners to focus on higher matters.

On the other hand, former commissioner Dan Holub said he didn’t like the idea of commissioners ignoring the results of the 2017 election.

“To just ignore an election, I’ve got a real problem with that,” he said.

Holub recommended commissioners put the question to another election.

But Thurston said, “if you’re a commission, you’re supposed to make decisions.”

Commission chairman David Mueller said commissioners needed to do a better job communicating.

After they heard from those who attended the meeting, commissioners reviewed a resolution drawn up by county counsel Brad Jantz and discussed portions that they thought should be changed before Monday’s meeting.

The proposed resolution sets out that an administrator would be chosen on the basis of administrative and executive ability, education, experience, and knowledge of governmental operations.

The administrator would be responsible for coordination and enforcement of resolutions, policies, rules, and regulations of the county.

The administrator would be required to attend all commission meetings and present proposed policies, programs, and plans to address county needs.

The administrator would advise commissioners on matters within his or her administrative authority.

The administrator also would present an annual operating budget, a capital improvements program, and a long-range strategic plan for review.

Enforcement of personnel policies and approval of change of status for employees would be done by the administrator.

The administrator would enforce purchasing procedures, prepare meeting agendas and reports, coordinate county departments and operations with other governmental agencies, execute contracts approved by commissioners, write grant applications and other documents, and perform other duties delegated by commissioners.

The administrator would not have supervisory authority over elected county officials.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2022