County could take opportunity to professionalize

In an effort to find the funding to hire an HR director, the Ward County Commission has now left it in the hands of department heads.

In the past, when budget cuts were needed, the county rightly asked department heads to find savings. In this case, asking department heads to cut enough to fund a new position looks more like an abdication of even its basic responsibilities on the part of the Ward County Commission. Should department heads set the budget on their own next year? And clearly, if they find the money to hire an HR director, they will be the ones to hire someone, right?

The county needs someone to handle HR, even if a government its size doesn’t necessitate a directorship position for so few responsibilities.

Perhaps there exists here an opportunity to finally professionalize Ward County. In lieu of an HR director, why not hire a professional administrator with an assistant to handle the everyday HR demands?

Ward County is in desperate need of professional management. Currently, the commission operates without a chief administrator and recent years have demonstrated the results. From payroll and tax mistakes to HR foibles and an inordinate number of occasions during which the political agenda of the commission brushes up against actual law – and outside of the State’s Attorney’s office, no one is there to rein in the politics and comply with law. Who knows how much money taxpayers could have been saved if there were professional management at the county level? It is sad, but no less a reality, that the “skill” needed to be elected to office has absolutely no correlation with the skill necessary to professionally manage a government. In fact, the opposite is proven true once again this week, when a traditionally imperious commission dumps this kind of responsibility on department heads.

So, why not look for a county manager or county administrator to help mold and institute the commission’s policies, while shuffling the employee deck and finding an assistant to handle HR issues. Many HR tasks are fairly routine and there is in-house talent probably capable of those tasks. The result would see HR needs met, as well as removing control of city operations from politicians and entrusting it to an actual professional administrator.

All one needs do is look at local municipal governments to see the benefit of professional management separate of political agendas.

Why don’t county residents deserve the same level of professionalism and integrity as city residents? They don’t have it now and there is no good reason why.