two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   LYONS (Oct 19 10) – The Wayne County Board of Supervisors has to fill two positions – County Auditor and Fiscal Manager – because both incumbents are leaving their positions within the next ten days.
   This morning, the board okayed advertising for the auditor position and set the maximum salary at $65,000.
   But the new fiscal manager role generated an unusually lively debate in chambers, witnessed by members of a Newark High School government class.

   County Administrator Jim Marquette has worked to change the role of what used to be the “Fiscal Manager” to a new “Fiscal Assistant to the County Administrator.” The job will pay $70,000, compared to the $91,590 salary drawn by the soon-to-retire Keith Kubasik, and the position will report directly to Marquette, and will even step in for him when he’s unavailable.
   And Marquette wants to pick his person.
   “Why?” asked Supervisor Brian Manktelow (Lyons). “Why is this position allowed to be filled by the county administrator?
   Supervisor Bill Hammond (Macedon) explained that Marquette will choose his assistant because that assistant will report directly to him.
   “If something goes wrong, it will be on our shoulders,” said Manktelow. “This and the county auditor – is it possible to do both with one person?”
   Hammond said the auditor reports to the board of supervisors; the fiscal assistant would report to Marquette.
   “Our department heads go out and hire their own people all the time,” said Supervisor Chairman Jim Hoffman (Williamson). “Most of our department heads have key management people they hire themselves.”
   Marquette explained that the auditor has oversight responsibility “which is incompatible with an administrative position. That job is not the same as someone on the ‘pre’ side of this. They are distinctly different functions.” The Fiscal Manager has been tasked with analysis and forecasts; the auditor monitors bills and verifies payments are proper and according to contracts.
   He reminded the board he wasn’t creating a new position but “tailoring the duties a little” and replacing the incumbent “at a savings.”
   “Will this person be filling in for the county administrator?” asked Supervisor Ken Lauderdale (Savannah).
   “Yes,” said Marquette.
   “Then that is a level that seems to be above the typical department head,” said Lauderdale. “The candidates should be interviewed by Mr. Marquette and a supervisors’ committee…and the candidate selected should be a resident of the county.”
   Supervisor Lucinda Collier (Rose) said she “understands the feelings of the supervisors, but this position is building a management team. The new person has to work as a team player with the county administrator. They must be compatible and the county administrator must also have faith in this person. It’s imperative we have a strong administrative team.”
   Lauderdale argued that “as much as we don’t want to see Mr. Marquette go, he could take advantage of another opportunity” and that would leave the supervisors working with his former assistant. “We could be burdened with someone whom we’ve had no input into hiring. I can’t support that.”
   “If the administrator is absent, his assistant would report to the board,” said Supervisor Dave Spickerman (Butler). “Why wouldn’t we have say in the hiring?”
   Supervisor Jody Bender (Marion) said the Fiscal Assistant hire “would be no different than hiring an undersheriff – we weren’t involved in that.”
   “If Mr. Marquette goes, would the assistant go, too?” asked Supervisor Laurie Crane (Huron).
   “In theory,” answered County Attorney Dan Wyner, “the new county administrator could bring in a new assistant.”
   “If the administrator found out the new person isn’t working out, can we get rid of that person?” asked Supervisor Dick Colacino (Arcadia).
   “Yes, if the position is not ‘competitive,’” said Marquette. The position is under evaluation by the state as a possible “competitive” job which would involve testing during the hiring and a civil service process if the person is to be dismissed. The county would like the position to be “non-competitive.”
   Manktelow went back to job-sharing. “We’re requiring all employees to multi-task to save money,” he said. “Why not this position? We’re spending $70,000: it behooves us to have a little input.”
   “We all interviewed and have confidence in our county administrator,” said Hoffman. “He’s asking to hire someone to help him do his job.”
   Supervisor Steve Groat (Galen) suggested the motion to allow Marquette to fill the position be tabled until the state rules on the job.
   “We could wait for the determination from the state,” said Marquette. “We could wait…and wait…and wait…and wait. We have some forward momentum now. With a delay…we’d better rethink that. We have a fairly thin management team and we’re losing someone. We’ll be even thinner.”
   The board voted 12-2 (Manktelow, Groat) to let Marquette move ahead in finding a fiscal assistant. The vote to advertise for a new auditor was passed, 13-1 (Groat).


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