Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Commission chairman favors finance director instead of manager

October 23, 2002

Bob Adams, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission, wants to make one thing perfectly clear before the Nov. 5 election.

He's against a proposal on the ballot that would allow the county to hire a professional administrator. Instead, he thinks the county needs to hire a finance expert to help guide them through the budget process and provide information on other decisions about money.

"I think our county governmental system is in good hands," Adams said. "It's got a good form, and it's my firm belief we need a little better expertise on how to look into things, such as how practical is it to do the things we do at the county shop, such as roads and buildings. Or how practical is it how we're financing vehicles or how we're buying equipment, whether it be computers or telephones."

On Nov. 5, Leavenworth County voters will be asked whether the office of county administrator should be created.

One of Adams' fellow commissioners, Joe Daniels, has been a strong proponent of hiring a county administrator. And although Daniels said at a forum on Saturday that he was representing his own views by speaking out at the forum, Adams thinks Daniels has gone overboard.

"He needs to say it's his personal opinion," Adams said. "He needs to say this 10 times a day, if he's talking about the issue."

Although Adams voted with other commissioners to put the issue on the ballot, he said he doesn't favor a county administrator because he thinks an administrator likely would want to hire a finance director. He thinks it makes sense to hire a financial expert and leave management of the county in the hands of commissioners.

"We don't need another layer that you need to go through before you get to the commissioners," he said. "If we had a finance director, that would be just the right flavor for county government. That's all we need. If we put that into place, and if we need a county manager after that, then let's look at that."

He said each commissioner is committed to cutting his salary by $10,000 to hire an administrator. That money could go a long way, along with money already set aside in the 2003 budget, toward hiring a finance director.

"For a county manager, I think it will take more money than that," he said.

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