Today’s topic: county administrator and public notices.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Did I say you could leave? This blog is as significant as any other, filled with hard-hitting facts, impeccable research and political intrigue.
Delivered, of course, in our folksy demeanor that Just Wright Citrus readers have come to enjoy and appreciate all this time.
I sense your doubt. Oh ye of little faith.
Ready? Here we go.
Both are on today’s county commission agenda. We’ll start with public notices.
A new law lets local governments yank legal notices from newspapers and place them on their own websites. The only caveat is the government has to do it less costly than the newspaper charges.
When the county administration and clerk’s office first brought this idea to commissioners, they were somewhat vague on how they were going to accomplish that. Still, the board set a public hearing, which is 1:30 p.m. today (Tuesday).
Publisher Trina Murphy and the Chronicle did an impressive job pulling out the stops helping readers understand what’s really going on. They and others exposed the numerous flaws in this idea of posting all public notices on a government website (my favorite being the insane lack of reliable internet anywhere in Citrus County).
Citizens responded. Not in massive numbers, but they were consistent. Each county commissioner email batch of the week included at least four or five from residents who wanted to keep public notices in the Chronicle. I didn’t see a single email with an opposite view.
County Administrator Randy Oliver’s agenda memo to commissioners for today’s meeting seals it. He frankly states the clerk’s office can’t do this cheaper than the Chronicle, which would seem to kill the idea.
So now we’ve spent a month talking about public notices. Glad we got that out of our system.
Having fun so far?
Commissioners today are also expected to approve Steve Howard’s contract for county administrator. The salary is $197,500 — $27,000 more than what Oliver is earning — and it includes seven weeks of annual paid time off.
While both the salary and vacation/personal time have some wondering if that’s over the top for Citrus County, commissioners see it another way. Howard is the leader they’re looking for, a partner to help them move Citrus County forward.
Quibbling over a few weeks time off isn’t worth the effort of losing an administrator and starting this process over. There’s no guarantee the board’s second choice, Tobey Phillips, is even still interested in the job.
Last week’s random commission email is from Commissioner Jeff Kinnard. He was initially strongly in favor of Phillips but when he saw the tide going another way, he pursued a unanimous vote for Howard.
Kinnard’s email batch included a message from Howard, who thanked him for the interview and also wrote:
“... My family visited Citrus County over the weekend. My daughter had her first manatee encounter and horse ride with the 4-H drill team at the Crystal River Scarecrow Festival. We had a great time! I had an opportunity to interact with various citizens during my visit. The conversations were always very positive of why they truly love to call Citrus County their home.
“Organizations I have served in have given me the experience to inspire individuals with a shared vision of the future, set clear goals, motivate individuals towards them, manage delivery, and communicate results to stakeholders. If given the opportunity to serve Citrus County I’m confident we could make a positive impact and move Citrus County forward together. I’m looking forward to my next visit.”
Above his name, he wrote, “Yours for a better Citrus…”
“Good afternoon Steve! I’m happy to hear that you and your family have gotten a great taste of Citrus County. It’s a fantastic place to call home, and look forward to welcoming you and your family here! Stay well, looking forward to working with you!”
As you see, there is excitement in county commission land about the new hire.
So…that wasn’t bad, right? We took two mundane government topics and made them, um, less mundane.
Tomorrow: Watching paint dry. Part One.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.