Before public vote, address salary issue
The Leavenworth County Commission's decision to allow voters in November to decide whether they want a county administrator is a sound one.
As Commissioner Don Navinsky pointed out, Leavenworth County has grown substantially in the past 20 years. An administrator, who would serve at the pleasure of the commission, is needed to handle the day-to-day operations of the county. That would mean commissioners would set policy, rather than micro-manage county government.
It also would mean that Leavenworth County would not need its three commissioners to work on a full-time basis. And it would mean that the three commissioners' salary of about $42,000 each could be substantially reduced.
Navinsky estimates an administrator would cost the county an additional $60,000 in salary, plus benefits. A professional administrator could effectively and efficiently handle the business that has been handled by the commission.
It makes sense, then, that commissioners would cut their pay. Commissioners' workload would diminish and so should their salaries.
If commissioners want voters to approve a county administrator, a pay cut for commissioners should be part of the package. Voters would be reluctant to approve for an additional $60,000 salary while still spending more than $120,000 to pay three commissioners.