Commission Discusses Possible County Administrator Position

Commission Discusses Possible County Administrator Position

SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Commission brought a previous discussion out of executive session today regarding the possibility of creating a county administrator position.

Commissioner Roy Lloyd explained that while the discussion did start an executive session, the board felt like it was now the appropriate time to bring it out and talk about it publicly.

“This discussion never started as a CEO discussion or a CFO discussion,” Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld said. “It started as a discussion that maybe there was a gap in a few things that the commission needed to be successful, to be transparent, and to effectively communicate with out constituents.”

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Over last three years, the commissioners have had different conversations that made them believe there might be a need for some sort of a county administrator position. However, the title and duties of the position is something they haven’t decided yet. Commissioner Schoenfeld said she reached out to counties across the state and found that four counties have a county administrator position. She said all four counties have given the positions vastly different responsibilities.

“I don’t believe the intention is to create another position within the county. For me, personally, this is to look at some efficiencies. For me, I believe we need somebody maybe even as a PIO (public information officer) position in that [they’re] putting out information, press releases from the commission, sharing information with our department heads, and ensuring that everybody is on the same page within the county. Not being a supervisor or a boss,” Commissioner Schoenfeld said.

Commissioner Jeff Smith said that he agrees with making the position more of a hybrid between an administrator and a PIO, rather than a CEO.

“We have a lot of good people working in the county now and I don’t think that’s necessarily the need, we don’t need one more layer of leadership or management,” Commissioner Smith said.

Commissioner Randy “Doc” Wendling said that the county is definitely missing something that would make it operate more efficiently, but he believes they need to look at the strengths and weaknesses to determine a job title and description.

“We are missing something in making sure that this county is as strong as it can be. What that is, I don’t know,” Commissioner Wendling said. “It may prove to itself that in order for us as a commission to take care of policy, we may have to back away from the middle management stuff that’s taking away from what it takes to be part of that policy making.” 

He said they should build the position from the strengths and weaknesses that they find. Commissioner Lloyd suggested that they start conducting workshops to begin working out those strengths and weaknesses, involving discussions with department heads and elected officials.

Commissioner Mary Thoman said that with this being an election year, she thinks this position is something that should be addressed by the commission with its newly elected commissioners in January.

“I’m not opposed to the idea of trying to have a PIO position, but I am opposed to a county administrator position,” Thoman said.  

However, Commissioner Schoenfeld pointed out that it’s already taken the current commission three years to begin having this discussion more seriously and would not like to see it put on the “back burner” once again.

“I don’t disagree that another commission should have the option to weigh in on this… however, I also think it’s taken the four of us for three years to get to this conversation,” Commissioner Schoenfeld said.

From here, the Commission will continue discussions and begin workshops to start determining a potential job title and description for this proposed position.

Other Business

The Sweetwater County Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit to allow LR Communications to construct a 56-foot wireless internet site at 87 Gaensslen Drive, west of Green River.

The goal of the site is to help in the expansion of LR Communication’s network. The site will be run off of on-site solar panels only, and no other utility services are expected. It is proposed to cover roughly 15-feet by 20-feet of ground.

Additionally, the Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit to allow Brenda Baker, owner of Pampered Paws Boarding, at 650 Summit Drive, to increase the hours of operation in which the pets would be allowed out of their kennels each day. They also approved to allow Baker to add onsite animal grooming to her business.