Rock Island County Looking Into County Administrator Role - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island County Looking Into County Administrator Role

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Rock Island County has been in the spotlight lately. A

no confidence vote for the chairman, whistle blower lawsuits, and major problems such as the courthouse that seem no closer to being solved.

County leaders have proposed a series of reforms.

One of those is to look into hiring a county administrator.

A county administrator would assist the board in the everyday operations of the County.

That person is generally responsible for researching, tracking finances, and basically running the County the way the board tells them to.

Henry County has had one since 1984 and its chairman says the position is vital.

"It really just makes it flow," says Henry County Board Chairman Tim Wells.

He says his County administrator Colleen Gillaspie performs a vital function for the board. She completes the daily homework to keep the County government running.

"Do the groundwork, do the heavy lifting, so it's all ready to make decisions," says Wells.

The decisions are left to the board members, who figure out what's best for their constituents. An administrator has no say over the board, but can better connect those decisions to employees on the ground.

"When you do things wrong, I don't know what you save, but if you do it correct and you keep it moving, and it stays in budget," says Wells.

There is no state law that defines the role of a county administrator, it's up to the individual counties themselves. So a county board can make a county administrator as strong as it would like, or as weak as it would like.

"I think it's very possible I believe there could be some benefits to it, there may be some challenges," says Rock Island County Board Member Richard Brunk.

His governmental affairs committee will be figuring out the legal issues behind creating an administrator position. One idea is to take a chunk of the salary from the board chairman and use it to fund the new position. The problem is, elected officials salaries have to be set six months before an election. It may be too late for now to change it legally.

"We need to get all the facts before we jump into something," says Brunk.

He also says an administrator may not present the solution board members are looking for. Having a professional administrator doesn't mean problems will go away.

"It may eliminate some of the crisis type situations, unfortunately we still have the politics of things," says Brunk.

He says looking into the position is worth it. Chairman Wells says he wouldn't want to run his County without an administrator.

"She helps implementing all the things we're trying to get done in the County," says Wells.

The Rock Island County State's Attorneys office is reviewing the salary issue.

Seeing if the board can legally change a salary to fund a new position.

While some board members have called for quick action on this reform, it may be months or even years before an administrator could be hired.

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