This isn?t the first time we?ve asked this: In these challenging times, with complicated issues regarding budgeting, personnel and facility needs on the front burner of public attention, is the county-commission model of administration the best model for Marion County?s future? Is it time to consider a more professional model where elected officials set policy and the day-to-day machinery of government is overseen by a full-time manager equipped to coordinate the complexities of conducting public business in today?s sophisticated world?
This is not a criticism of the three people who currently serve as commissioners. Rather, we wonder about a system that expects dedicated but untrained, part-time overseers to manage the full-time challenges of county government in today?s environment.
One of the challenges with the administrator model is figuring out who is accountable to whom when some departments are under the direction of elected officials and others are hired. Other counties have figured it out, and so could we.
Perhaps we should stop raising this question because it doesn?t seem to gain much traction in the public imagination. But we wonder if some of the ongoing debates at the county level might have been managed more effectively, perhaps even avoided, with a full-time professional manager in place. ?DR