COLUMBIANA COUNTY Official sees wisdom in hiring administrator

An administrator would be useful in personnel matters, a commissioner said.
LISBON -- Now is certainly not the time to do so, but Columbiana County should eventually consider hiring a full-time administrator, said Commissioner Sean Logan.
Logan said Friday that during a recent governmental seminar he attended in Columbus presenters said more and more counties are using administrators to oversee the many details of county government.
"We have no inclination of doing it now," Logan said of hiring such a professional.
The county is mired in a financial morass brought on because expenses are outpacing revenues.
Commissioners have placed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase proposal on the May 7 primary ballot. The increase, which would make the sales tax 1.5 percent, would raise about $3 million annually.
Even if the increase passes, Logan said the county may need more time to recover before it considers an administrator.
But the topic should be debated eventually, he said.
An administrator would be able to provide expertise on a variety of personnel matters, including hiring, firings and lay-offs, Logan said.
Those elements of governing are subject to complex state and federal regulations, he added. A misstep could land the county in legal difficulties.
Administrators for small counties typically earn about $50,000 annually, Logan said.
He said he thinks having an administrator on staff, could actually save the county money, by helping it avoid labor litigation.
Administrators bring in dollars, too, through grant-writing skills, Logan said.
Administrators can also provide continuity to county government because their service isn't affected by voters and term lengths.
Answering critics
Logan said other counties that have hired administrators report being assailed by critics.
"People claim, 'Oh yeah, that's just so you can go golfing more,' " Logan said.
But with an administrator to handle governmental details, commissioners would be freed up more to deal with policy issues and constituent matters, he added.

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