What’s one more bureaucrat, anyway?
County commissioners have heard from maybe a dozen people who think hiring a county administrator would be a great idea. They seem to forget that they heard just five years ago from 1,192 voters who rejected the same idea. And unlike supporters of the plan, none of them were invited to speak during deliberations this month.
It’s not that the idea of having an administrator — costly though it might be — is inherently bad. With the right person and the right commission, it might work. But the county’s hires haven’t always been as stellar as this one will have to be, and recent commissioners have shown little inclination to give up their micromanagement of county affairs.
If commissioners are willing to keep looking until they find a perfect candidate instead of settling for a familiar one, a retread, the lesser of evils, or one who will have to learn on the job, it might work — provided they also stop bringing every pothole and low-level personnel issue to their fellow commissioners and let the administrator handle such things instead.
To make up at least a tiny part of the huge salary an administrator would command, they also should go back — as was the option when people voted against an administrator and for a five-member commission — to having just three commissioners. That would have the added benefit of undoing the unconscionable way in which the City of Marion is gerrymandered into two districts, with part of the city an island inside another district.
Fail to address these issues, and all we’ll do is add to the county’s burgeoning payroll and voters’ burgeoning sentiment that one of government’s main goals is to prevent average people from having a say in how their taxes are spent and their affairs are managed.
It’s almost as if commissioners have spent so much time meeting Marion that they have been infected by the same voters-be-damned attitudes of the city council there.
— ERIC MEYER