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Committee Recommends the Creation of County Administrator

Written By Editor on 9/26/14 | 9/26/14

It may have taken several months, but the special committee set up to study a possible County Administrator really did their homework.

The committee, made up of Supervisors Federice of Conesville, Barbic of Seward, Bleau of Wright, Jordan of Jefferson, and VanWormer of Esperance has published their findings on September 19th.

The report can be found here on the County Website.

The Committee interviewed a series of public officials from counties with similar populations and budgets as Schoharie. Those chosen were Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Warren, and Washington.

They found a series of similar circumstances, between Delaware County having a full time County Board Chairman to Fulton, Greene, Warren, and Washington Counties each employing a full time County Administrator. Those that do have the salary range from $76,000 to $129,000. Their staffs range from just one other employee to three.

Each County that has adopted the Administrator system speaks highly of it, with similar functions. The Administrator is expected to communicate with both the county department heads and the county legislators.

The Committee was clear: they recommend the formation of an administrator. In part, they found:
"The present position of a part time Board of Supervisors Chairman would be enhanced by a chief operating officr who would report directly to the Chairman who should remain as the chief executive officer representing the residents of the County through the Board of Supervisors"
The committee recommends a position created that is meant to be non-partisan or without influence. They suggested a salary between $85,000 and $90,000.

The position would be empowered to execute the will of the County Board. The administrator would attend all committee and full Board meetings. They would also work with the County Board to fill any department head vacancies and could conduct special investigations as needed. The administrator would also serve as the chief auditing agent, allowing another layer of fiscal protection. They would also work on collective bargaining and salary agreements.

The recommendations for minimum qualifications include clauses that no one shall hold a public office while serving as administrator and does not need to be a County resident when appointed, but must move here within 120 days. The candidate would:
"Possess a Bachelor's degree in Business Management or Administration from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university and have ten years of full-time paid experience in public, business or industrial enterprise including a minimum of five years in public administration, or, possess a Master's Degree in Business or Public Administration from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with five years of full time experience in public, business or industrial enterprise including a minimum of three years of public administration."
Commitee Chair William Federice of Conesville said that the "need for [a County executive] became increasingly compelling as we conducted our interviews with other counties." He also said that the commitee is "confident those who consider the case for an Administrator without deciding beforehand will come to the same conclusion as the Administrator Committee that Schoharie County needs a full time chief operating officer as is the case in 54 of the 56 other counties in New York State. We feel a County Administrator in that role would bring professional full time day to day management of county business as well as play a key advisory role to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials and department heads."

The results have been shared with the remainder of the County Board, who will consider the proposal.
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