After several years of going without, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors finally agreed it is time to do something about the vacant County Administrative Officer position. Board members weighed in on the topic at the regular board of supervisors meeting Feb. 6.
District 4 Supervisor Lori Simpson began by expressing her concerns over the power distinction between a CAO and the Board of Supervisors.
“Some of us have had a CAO,” said Simpson. “We have some strong concerns, I know I do, about what they are in charge of, who they are in charge of and how much power they have.”
District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall echoed Simpson’s concerns and discussed the idea of hiring someone in a lower capacity than a high ranked CAO.
“The kind of big administrative person, we can’t afford that person,” said Simpson. “We need a lower level person to help us do stuff.”
“I absolutely agree,” said Thrall. “We do need a person to do some things, but I don’t think we need a county administrative officer, nor can we afford one.”
The board had the current job description in front of them as they discussed the position. Simpson and Thrall suggested the county look at narrowing the job duties down to what a county manager or executive officer would do. The main tasks the board agreed the position should do is handle day to day operations and oversee the budget.
“There is a perception that if we bring in a high profile CAO our problems are going to be resolved,” said District 1 Supervisor Michael Sanchez. “I don’t see that … We don’t have the money we need to bring in somebody at the pay rate it would be required to get a full-fledged CAO.”
“Whether we call it a CAO or a county manager … I think it is needed,” said District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel. “Instead of spending our time on planning for the future of Plumas County, we are worried about people calling and getting their streets plowed … it is a waste of our time.”
“We can’t see a vision for our county, we are busy with the day-to day-things.” Engel continued. “The county administrator can take the burden of the everyday nitpicking stuff off of us so we can see.”
The board decided to continue editing the job description and discuss it further at the board meeting Tuesday, March 20.