A deeper examination of the article “Commission Discusses Administrator’s Transition Plan,” which appeared in last week’s Wetumpka Herald, raises questions about the benefits touted by Commission Chairman Troy Stubbs. With the impending retirement of County Administrator Grace McDuffie, Stubbs’ proposal provides for a restructuring of county government and operations by not replacing Ms. McDuffie. Instead, he proposes that the duties of the administrator be redistributed among current county officials and these officials would be provided increased compensation for taking on additional responsibilities.
Commissioner Stubbs claims that, by implementing this transition plan, “We are not spending any more … taxpayers’ dollars. In fact, we are saving because of the benefits that we’re not paying for an additional employee and we are showing commitment to those who have been committed to our county and we are not putting ourselves in a position where we would be hiring someone who we really don’t know other than an interview or two.”
But two things are very unclear regarding this plan. (1) There is no way to determine if we will actually save money if we don’t know exactly how many county officials would pick up additional duties and the corresponding increased compensation. The article mentioned only two, County Engineer Richie Beyer and “an existing employee in the administrator’s office.” Are they the only ones, how are selections made and what exactly is the increased compensation? (2) While Stubbs claimed that we would not be paying benefits for an additional employee, the Herald article referenced a motion at the meeting to approve the creation of a new position and description titled “Chief Engineer and Officer.” Would not this new position have a salary and benefits package that needs to be factored into the equation?
We need a side-by-side line item look at the current administrator’s salary and benefit package in comparison to exactly who will get what under the proposed change. The last line of the Herald story reads, “Ultimately it was tabled for further discussion.” I fully concur as this proposal needs a lot more public scrutiny.
Michael E. Waters