Commissioners appoint chair, discuss liaison appointments

Lake County Board of Commissioners held its first work session of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Commissioner Barry Shullanberger now sits on the Board, after Brad Winters retired after 20 years as a commissioner.

Kevin Winter/Lake County Examiner | Lake County Examiner

At its work session on Tuesday, Jan. 5, the Lake County Board of Commissioners elected a chair and vice-chair and discussed liaison assignments.

As it was the first meeting of the year, and with a newly elected commissioner, the first task on hand was to elect a chair and vice-chair for the Board of Commissioners. The process was fairly quick as Lake County Commissioner Mark Albertson nominated Lake County Commissioner James Williams to be the chair, with Lake County Commissioner Barry Shullanberger seconding the motion. Shullanberger then nominated Albertson as vice-chair and that motion passed as well. Williams and Albertson will serve in these capacities until the next election. Williams replaces Brad Winters — who decided not to seek re-election — as the new chair of the Commissioners.

A discussion entailed liaison assignments for the upcoming year. Traditionally different departments and committees have always had a single commissioner that they would update; that commissioner would then update the others at a meeting. In some departments all three commissioners act as liaisons and go-tos for the department heads when an issue arises and help is needed.

Albertson raised the issue of whether or not that is the way to go; he believes that it builds silos and makes it less likely that department heads will communicate with the other commissioners outside of their liaison. He said he would prefer a system wherein each commissioner was the liaison for every department head within the County and that there was not just one person.

Albertson said he knows that some people have a hard time talking to certain commissioners and would rather speak to another, but that information and updates can become lost. Additionally, if a certain commissioner is out of town and an issue needs to be resolved, he said that it is important that the other commissioners know what is going on and do not need to start from the beginning.

The idea was brought forward that the department head updates portion of the meeting be revived once more, where each department head would give an update about their department to the entire board each quarter. Shullanberger and Williams were supportive of that idea, as it would allow the Commissioners to hear it all at once. Williams brought up the idea of having a short weekly work session to hear from a couple of department heads each week.

Under the current system each commissioner is responsible for certain departments and committees; a list has been drawn up though not approved. Williams noted that more discussion was needed about the liaison assignments and the topic was tabled to the Board’s next work session which is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19.

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