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Opinion: Convene Committee to Study Administrator, County Government

Written By Editor on 5/30/14 | 5/30/14

In a letter to the editor last week, Conesville Town Supervisor Bill Federice wrote that he agreed with the county board's vote against a county administrator because he felt that they, "simply did not have all the facts yet to conduct a final vote on the subject."

We feel that there has been a substantial and meaningful amount of debate on the subject, but that Mr. Federice made a valid point later in his letter that, "More information such as salary, job description, expectations of an Administrator, qualifications, etc. need to be discussed with specificity."

To this point in time discussion of adopting an administrator has largely centered around the need of adding an additional layer of oversight to a county government run amok, but has not yet touched on the finer details of the proposed position or, and perhaps more importantly, the structure of government as it stands with a Board of Supervisors system. 

Discounting the system's often inadequate and antiquated functions in the twenty-first century, one has to look no further than the Supreme Court's 1964 Reynolds v. Sims decision to realize the current board's configuration is wholly out of step with the principle of "one person, one vote" and that we have operated under a questionable charter for five decades.

However, for the sake of not sounding repetitive, we believe that in the spirit of fostering greater awareness and knowledge of not only the proposed administrator but also the status of government, that the Board of Supervisors should appoint a committee of legislators, legal experts, public advocates, and citizens to examine the state of our county charter today. 

If such a committee is convened by the county board in June and meets over the course of the summer months on a biweekly basis, there should be no reason why a full report on the status of government and what changes, if any are deemed necessary, should not be available for supervisors to make an educated and reasonable decision on an administrator this fall. 

This, however, will only occur if the county board is willing to act and open to listening. 
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