Commissioners weigh hiring administrator
County commissioners once again discussed hiring an administrator, with support from Goessel resident Mark Voth, Hillsboro city councilman Kevin Suderman, and county commission chairman Jonah Gehring.
Voth said an administrator can spend hours doing detailed research on a subject and present the facts to the commission for a decision, which would allow shorter commission meetings and better decisions.
“I see all this time and energy spent on just putting water on things,” Voth said. “I see an administrator as giving you time to vision for the county.”
Voth said it frustrates him to see commissioners continually bogged down.
“A lot of times I see discussions go down a rabbit hole,” Voth said.
Suderman said he sees a lack of educated leadership in commission decision-making. The commission needs to spend more time working on strategic plans, he said.
“An administrator removes the need for constant discussion of county employees and their salaries in open meeting,” Suderman said. “You will be able to adjust meeting times more than likely to just two meetings per month. Also, you more than likely will also limit those meetings to less than three hours regularly.”
Gehring shared a Kansas Association of Counties report on appointed county administrators in Kansas.
A county administrator’s five primary assignments are: preparing budgets; recommending policies; preparing agendas; serving as a liaison; and coordinating administration, the report said.
County counselor Brad Jantz said someone in a county administrator position “commands a pretty hefty salary.”
“I’m not speaking for or against it,” Jantz said.
Hillsboro city administrator Larry Paine said having an administrator relieves commissioners of doing tedious things such as looking at potholes.
“Your job is not to look at each and every pothole,” Paine said. “His job is to get out there and look. Your job is to look at the big picture.”
Paine said Hillsboro city council regularly has meetings that last less than an hour.
Commissioners cast a split vote of 4 to 1 with Dianne Novak opposed, to continue discussion of a county administrator through the budget process and consult with Scot Loyd, the county’s certified public accountant, about cost factors.
Last modified April 23, 2020