Tell the county what an administrator should be paid

Alpena County commissioners are debating now what the county should pay a new county administrator.

The county Board of Commissioners’ Personnel Committee recommended a salary between $75,000 and $105,000 for the person who will oversee day-to-day operations of county government.

The consultant the county hired to help commissioners find a new administrator recommended the county offer to pay more so the county might attract more highly qualified and experienced administrators.

The county decided it wants someone at least with a bachelor’s degree and preferably with a master’s degree, but commissioners said they’re willing to consider someone with years of experience in government administration.

Commissioner Travis Konarzewski said the county needs to pay enough to attract an administrator of sufficient talent and experience who might want to stay. Otherwise, he told his fellow commissioners, they might hire someone with less experience who merely uses Alpena County to pad his or her resume before leaving Northeast Michigan for a higher-paying government somewhere else.

But Commissioners John Kozlowski and Brenda Fournier noted the county faces a steep budget deficit (the county currently forecasts expenses will outpace revenues by $1.8 million), and the county needs to pinch pennies. A higher salary would also make the administrator better-paid than the county’s elected officials (sheriff, prosecutor, clerk, and treasurer).

Alpena County residents need to join the debate.

It’s your tax money commissioners are debating, here, and you ought to have a say in how they spend it.

Does the county need to invest in a higher-qualified, more experienced applicant who might stay in Alpena County long enough to enact the systemic change the county needs to see to avoid digging into cash savings to pay bills?

Or does the county, already facing a budget deficit, need to hold back and make do with who it can get with less money?

Or is there some other option? Does the county need an administrator at all?

We urge all Alpena County residents to visit the next Board of Commissioners meeting (it happens 1 p.m. Tuesday at the County Annex Building, 719 W. Chisholm St.) and tell commissioners what they think a new administrator is worth.

And we urge commissioners to listen to those residents.


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