By Fred Arnold
District 5 Commissioner
Your county board is quite unified in the belief that staffing levels and changes in position descriptions in county government should be part of the budget discussion starting in late summer.
This gives us as a board the opportunity to look seriously at the whole picture and attempt to make some logical sense out of it.
Counting part-time employees, as well as summer employees, we have, according to county records, 225 employees. It is one of our jobs, with the help of department heads, to make the best possible use of these people’s time to get the best possible job done for our employers, the taxpayers.
This task is completed by jobs that change due to retirements, resignations, changes in regulations, etc…
Part of the problem is also the fact that we have three new commissioners and there is always the tendency to want to see how much can be done before the ‘newbies’ catch on.
You can get a brief look through the window at these factors in operation if you view the video of the February 21 board meeting. Basically the board was not happy with the result because we felt that we had spent too much, but the department head was not happy either because he had not gotten what he felt he needed.
My preliminary research indicates that Houston County government overall is not greatly overstaffed and the median salary paid to our employees is very close to U.S. Census Bureaus’s report for the median salary for everyone in the county. Can we make improvements? Of course, but there are many other factors that have a large impact on the final result; good government at a reasonable cost.