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Hernando Commission agrees to hold off on management shuffle

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission agreed to the concept of County Administrator David Hamilton's reorganized management structure Tuesday, but, at Hamilton's request, stopped short of making several switches in duties and position cuts.

The proposed reorganization plan released last week raised a variety of concerns in the community and within the ranks of county government.

Some questioned Hamilton's proposal to use tourist tax money to pay for proposed positions with dual roles. They also wondered how tourism would function under his proposed structure. Others were concerned about employees whose jobs were up for elimination.

In the end, Hamilton asked that the commission not consider eliminating any jobs for the time being while his office continues to figure out what money might be available to balance the 2010-11 budget prior to public hearings later this month.

Still, he urged the commission to at least accept the concept of cutting the county leadership team from the current nine members to six so work to complete a salary classification study can move forward and be completed in time for the final budget hearing Sept. 28.

Commissioners Jim Adkins, Dave Russell and John Druzbick agreed to at least support that change, as long as Hamilton continued to work with concerned residents about the restructuring.

Commissioners Jeff Stabins and Rose Rocco voted no and voiced concern about the basis for the restructuring and whether the county's leadership team was involved in the decision.

Hamilton also got support for his recommendation that the county move forward with hiring a county engineer. A civil engineer who has been overseeing road projects since the county engineer was dismissed also left recently. The civil engineer is one of the positions Hamilton has considered eliminating.

But commissioners also asked that Hamilton look into privatizing the county's engineering work. Hamilton agreed to bring back proposals so the board can consider both options.

Hamilton's original reorganization proposal was expected to save the county $507,588 from a combination of restructuring the county's management, reclassifying top managers and eliminating three jobs.

The restructuring of the leadership team would mean director of human resources Cheryl Marsden, budget office director George Zoettlein and business development director Michael McHugh would move from "director" titles to become managers.

The overall proposal is in line with Hamilton's credo on how to downsize county government: fewer managers and more management.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando Commission agrees to hold off on management shuffle 08/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 8:15pm]
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