Long County commissioners recently discussed the possibility of hiring a county administrator in the future.
Chairman Dwight Gordon asked each member of the commission to offer input on the matter during a meeting Tuesday.
Commissioner Clifton DeLoach said the county now is large enough that it needs an administrator to oversee its employees and deal with customers instead of the commissioners having to do so.
“With our growth we can’t micromanage our county anymore,” he said.
However, DeLoach added that it probably would be best to hire a part-time administrator initially, then work that position into a full-time slot.
He said the county needs somebody to represent Long County and attend meetings in the area, and that a commissioner is not always available.
Having a person on staff also would increase the county’s ability to search for and receive grants, he said.
DeLoach said he believes that the county would have received more money from the canceled brigade-remediation funding, similar to the amount that the Long County Board of Education received, if an administrator would have been in place.
Commissioner Willie Thompson said he agrees that the county needs an administrator, but now is not the time.
The county has spent a lot of money on the courthouse over the last year and just bought a building for a new 911 center, he said. The 911 center, he said, should be the county’s top priority.
When the county “gets back on its feet” financially, then the commissioners should look at hiring an administrator. When they do hire an administrator, he emphasized, the position should be full-time.
Commissioner Robert Long agreed with Thompson. Long said the county has needs have to be met daily, and an administrator has to be available all of the time.
“We need one to be proficient and permanent, I’m for one,” Long said.
Commissioner Gerald Blocker said that when the county gets an operational 911 center, the need for an administrator will be even greater.
He said that at this point, the county should put out “feelers” to see how much it would cost to hire both a part-time and full-time position.
Gordon said he did not want to raise the millage rate to hire an administrator. With finances being tight, he said, the budget should be completed first, and then determine whether it is financially feasible hire an administrator.
The commissioners decided unanimously to table the matter and re-examine an administrator position after completing the budget.
This is not the first time that Long County has looked into hiring an administrator or manager. In 2008, commissioners went through a nationwide search to create a list of qualified candidates from which a full-time administrator or manager was to be selected.
The sitting board at that time, which consisted of Randy Wilson, Mike McGowan, Tony Fowler, Charles Reddish and DeLoach, decided that the oncoming board should be the body who made the final selection because those new commissioners would be working with the administrator over the next four years. After the new board took office in January 2009, no action was taken to hire one, and six years later, there still is no county administrator.