County commissioners took a tentative step toward possibly hiring a county administrator Monday.
Commissioner Kent Becker at Monday’s meeting broached a subject being much-discussed by many county residents.
“Their contention is that it brings some economies of scale, and you have to have the right person,” Becker said.
Becker said a county administrator would free up department heads from having to spend as much time sitting in commission meetings.
Becker said he’s not sure if counties with smaller populations can afford to hire administrators, but he wants to continue a dialogue on the idea and asked that the commission discuss hiring an administrator at least monthly.
Commissioner Dianne Novak brought up hiring an administrator when she campaigned.
“I’m almost of the consensus that we can’t afford not to,” Novak said.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said many counties divide the duties into three positions.
“That’s something I don’t think Marion County can afford is to bring on three people,” Dallke said.
Novak said a good administrator would bring education to the board.
Dallke said he would not want to consider anyone local for the position, if it is created.
The subject of a county administrator was on the agenda at last week’s Marion city council meeting, during which council members approved a resolution calling for city residents to provide county commissioners direction to establish an administrator position.
Seven of the state’s 21 counties with administrators have budgets smaller than Marion County’s $27 million annual budget, according to the Kansas Association of Counties.