MORGAN -- The lack of a county administrator is taking its toll on county parks and buildings, says one Morgan County councilwoman.
County-owned property at the fire station, library, fairgrounds and five county parks all need to be maintained, and that maintenance needs to be managed. In addition, the county is down an employee to oversee building maintenance.
"We budgeted for a council administrator to oversee these departments. I feel there's enough things that are not getting done that are falling on the (council's) shoulders that we have no right overseeing, that we can justify pulling from that wage to hire for a full-time position," Councilwoman Ronda Kippen said. "I want someone to give the county what the county deserves, someone we can rely on. It's code red right now."
The 2011 budget includes $109,465 for a council administrator, counting salary and benefits. Shortly after new council members officially took their seats in January, the council voted against filling the position left vacant by former administrator Garth Day.
"Now you're left in a bit of a pickle because you need a parks person," said Karen Sunday, a former council member.
The council advised Kippen to advertise for a seasonal parks manager as well as seasonal workers. Kippen also will work with the county's human resource consultant to draft a job description for a more permanent parks, buildings and grounds manager.
Much of the park maintenance has been carried out by local volunteers, but that arrangement cannot continue, Council Chairwoman Tina Kelley said. "The amount of work that needs to be done cannot continue to be handled by volunteers."
In the meantime, the county's park supervisor quit and the council has yet to replace him.
"He was completely overwhelmed because we have no form or structure of someone for him to answer to," Kippen said. "The key thing is (the council is) not managers."
Last year, the county paid $34,995 total salary for its parks crew. The 2011 budget is $31,109.
A parks manager likely would supervise seasonal youth workers to help mow and fertilize, and clear weeds on county property.
Kelley said she thinks hiring a manager and seasonal workers would be more cost-effective and better than hiring a lawn care company because of the pride it would instill in the community.