Commissioners: Doing fine without an administrator

After about a week without a county administrator, Washington County’s commissioners say they’re doing the extra work without a problem and don’t plan to hire additional help.

“This is actually the fourth day (without an administrator),” said Commissioner David White on Friday. “Things are running very smoothly. There are some changes, obviously; more reports come across my desk, things (that were) filtered through the administrator.”

The decision to eliminate the county administrator was made at the commissioners’ organizational meeting in January, where they didn’t appoint anyone back into the position. Former County Administrator Paul Cunningham’s last day was Feb. 14.

White said he’s been getting paperwork for grants; on Friday it was from the Department of Transportation for Urban Transit. He said the increase in paperwork has been noticeable.

Commission President Ron Feathers said the extra work hasn’t had a huge impact yet, although that could change as time goes on.

“Because it’s (been) a short week, it hasn’t exploded or anything,” he said.

White said as a commissioner, his duties change daily based on the correspondence he receives through mail and email.

“All of that will determine the rest of my day,” he said. “One day it might be a budgetary issue, or a real estate issue. There’s just any number of things it could be.”

Feathers said each commissioner is taking steps to be more active in each process.

“Many of these things were done previously,” he said. “We’re going to take a more comprehensive role than before. We’re going to know more of the nuts and bolts.”

Clerk Rick Peoples is acting out his day-to-day duties as the commissioners’ clerk, as well as taking on the duties of a fiscal clerk.

“I think we’re all learning to share those duties that Paul had,” Peoples said. “It’s a transition process we’re going through.”

Feathers was quick to say that the transition has been in the hands of many as commissioners have worked with various department heads.

“All this is, is a reorganization of the commissioners’ office,” he said. “We aren’t doing this alone.”

Peoples said everyone has stepped up to the plate to take on some extra responsibility to reach a common goal.

“We’re all working toward the same goal: maintain the fiscal responsibility and budgetary control for the county,” he said.

White said there are times coming down the road where the work crossing each commissioner’s desk will increase, but they won’t panic.

“I don’t expect it to be without a hiccup here or there,” he said. “It would be naive to think it would be perfectly smooth.”

“It’s a balancing act, but we’re doing it,” Feathers added.