Cortland County Lawmakers Debate Administrators Role in Recommending Dept. Head Candidates
Cortland County lawmakers held a work session last night to review the county administrator’s role and responsibility when it comes to the appointment of non-elected county department heads.
Lawmakers continued to debate the administrators authority when it comes to interviewing and selecting candidates to head up the county’s various departments and agencies.
According to the local law that established the administrators office, that position is responsible for overseeing and appointing the non-elected department heads, but some lawmakers say that was not the legislature’s intent when the position was created in 2002.
Republican Majority leader Susan Briggs says the legislature is elected by the voters and therefore has the responsibility to hire and fire department heads.
Democratic minority leader Sandy Price who was on the legislature when the administrator position was created says she supports allowing the administrator to have input in the hiring and review process for employees, but the final authority rests with the legislature.
Legislative chair Mike Park says the Administrator is charged with making sure the department heads are doing their jobs and therefore they should have more authority when it comes to recommending candidates for positions.
Park says the county has become too complex for part time elected leaders to manage the day to day operations, having qualified individuals in leadership positions is critical.
Park says there are some lawmakers that would rather not have and administrator and would like to manage the county government directly; he says that’s unrealistic given all the rules and regulations that the county faces.
Park plans to work with the County Personnel Committee to revise county policy concerning the administrators duties, he expects that the administrator will recommend candidates for all appointed positions except the legislative clerk, county attorney, and county auditor, those three positions answer to the legislature directly.