Commission drafts new administrative position

   Twenty plus county employees flooded the Commissioners’ office during their regular open business meeting Nov. 4. Topic of discussion at the three o’clock hour was Julie Straub, human resource director, finalizing a job description draft which would create a new county position entitled Chief Administrative Officer.

By Sherry Vogel

   The job overview reads: This position serves the Fallon County Commission in the administration of a broad range of activities and programs, including day-to-day operations. Acts as liaison between Commission and other entities to increase communication. Provides guidance and support in fiscal, policy, and legislative development to the Commission and department heads. Assists in budget development and expenditure tracking; pursues economic opportunities for the betterment of Fallon County.

   This administrative position was drafted to pay $95,000 annually with a wage increase to $100,000 after a 12 month probation period.

   During a question and answer period following Straub’s presentation to the Commissioners, various department heads and their employees voiced concerns regarding the scope of authority of the new administrator, and what effect it would have on them and their jobs. The paragraph on the working draft that caused near mutiny was found on page two of three under the heading Supervision of Others: Monitors work production of department heads and their work units; reports progress and/or issues to the Commission. Develops performance appraisals for department heads and submits for Commission approval. Engages in active performance management with coaching, training, and skills development. Works in conjunction with Human Resources in administration of progressive discipline and all personnel matters.

   Tensions were high as issues were raised about department heads being micro managed. The words “betrayed” and “insulted” were voiced.

   Commissioner Baldwin stated, “It is not our intention to micro manage department heads.”

   Commissioner Randash added, “The administrator would be more of a commission assistant and more of a resource person for the heads.”

   When questioned why this position was necessary, Commissioner Ranum expressed, “We (the commission) are in need of an administrative assistant because we have too many departments to oversee.” She went on to add, “There is a need for monitoring seasonal work production, and the regular maintenance of thousands of dollars of county equipment, which are not being maintained properly.” She clarified, equipment used at the fair, weeds, cemetery, and golf course.

   Another topic of concern which was important to Ranum was the millions of dollars belonging to Fallon County which was laying in a local savings account earning less than one percent interest. This new position would warrant someone who could wisely invest on behalf of Fallon County’s interests.

   A third need expressed by all three commissioners was the need for our corner of Montana and Fallon County to have representation on the legislative level. The new job position would require a person with experience as a lobbyist who would lobby on behalf of Fallon County and inform the commission on all legislative issues impacting the county. In the course of conversation, Straub mentioned that she had researched the wage of a lobbyist which she found to be $65,000 annually.

   Some joining the discussion suggested that perhaps the one administrative position would be best divided into two separate positions – one of lobbyist and one of commission assistant.

   One sentence in the job overview listed: Acts as liaison between commission and other entities to increase communication. One department head felt the lines of communication would be best served by scheduling a regular meeting between department heads and the commission. Another added, “The commission would lose even more contact with department heads if a third party entered the scenario.”

   The final job description draft was not finalized and much tension was diffused as communication lines were opened.

   Next discussion of the new county hire will be held Monday, Nov. 16.

   Twenty plus county employees flooded the Commissioners’ office during their regular open business meeting Nov. 4. Topic of discussion at the three o’clock hour was Julie Straub, human resource director, finalizing a job description draft which would create a new county position entitled Chief Administrative Officer.

   The job overview reads: This position serves the Fallon County Commission in the administration of a broad range of activities and programs, including day-to-day operations. Acts as liaison between Commission and other entities to increase communication. Provides guidance and support in fiscal, policy, and legislative development to the Commission and department heads. Assists in budget development and expenditure tracking; pursues economic opportunities for the betterment of Fallon County.

   This administrative position was drafted to pay $95,000 annually with a wage increase to $100,000 after a 12 month probation period.

   During a question and answer period following Straub’s presentation to the Commissioners, various department heads and their employees voiced concerns regarding the scope of authority of the new administrator, and what effect it would have on them and their jobs. The paragraph on the working draft that caused near mutiny was found on page two of three under the heading Supervision of Others: Monitors work production of department heads and their work units; reports progress and/or issues to the Commission. Develops performance appraisals for department heads and submits for Commission approval. Engages in active performance management with coaching, training, and skills development. Works in conjunction with Human Resources in administration of progressive discipline and all personnel matters.

   Tensions were high as issues were raised about department heads being micro managed. The words “betrayed” and “insulted” were voiced.

   Commissioner Baldwin stated, “It is not our intention to micro manage department heads.”

   Commissioner Randash added, “The administrator would be more of a commission assistant and more of a resource person for the heads.”

   When questioned why this position was necessary, Commissioner Ranum expressed, “We (the commission) are in need of an administrative assistant because we have too many departments to oversee.” She went on to add, “There is a need for monitoring seasonal work production, and the regular maintenance of thousands of dollars of county equipment, which are not being maintained properly.” She clarified, equipment used at the fair, weeds, cemetery, and golf course.

   Another topic of concern which was important to Ranum was the millions of dollars belonging to Fallon County which was laying in a local savings account earning less than one percent interest. This new position would warrant someone who could wisely invest on behalf of Fallon County’s interests.

   A third need expressed by all three commissioners was the need for our corner of Montana and Fallon County to have representation on the legislative level. The new job position would require a person with experience as a lobbyist who would lobby on behalf of Fallon County and inform the commission on all legislative issues impacting the county. In the course of conversation, Straub mentioned that she had researched the wage of a lobbyist which she found to be $65,000 annually.

   Some joining the discussion suggested that perhaps the one administrative position would be best divided into two separate positions – one of lobbyist and one of commission assistant.

   One sentence in the job overview listed: Acts as liaison between commission and other entities to increase communication. One department head felt the lines of communication would be best served by scheduling a regular meeting between department heads and the commission. Another added, “The commission would lose even more contact with department heads if a third party entered the scenario.”

   The final job description draft was not finalized and much tension was diffused as communication lines were opened.

   Next discussion of the new county hire will be held Monday, Nov. 16.

      



GAMES