Defined jobs will help commission

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We like County Commissioner Allen Caton’s idea to give himself and each of his colleagues job titles and descriptions, and we’re glad the commission decided to adopt the plan.

Commissioners are elected at-large from the county, so none represent a specific district. And, until Tuesday, commissioners weren’t responsible for specific policy areas, either. The county’s top officials, therefore, were kind of responsible for everything and nothing at the same time.

That arrangement was destined for some confusion and inefficiency. Frustrated residents have often attended commission meetings after having talked about poor road conditions to several commissioners — plus the county engineer — and having been told different things. You can’t blame the residents for getting mad, but it’s also hard to find fault with the officials that were doing the best they could in an imperfect system.

It was also common for a commissioner to bring up items that spanned the spectrum of county issues.

Maybe the new arrangement will help change that. The next time a resident wants to talk about a road, he’ll know that commissioner Greg Moore oversees county transportation issues. And Moore will only be bringing up issues under his umbrella of responsibilities during meetings.

Meetings should become more efficient; officials in county departments, and even reporters for the local newspaper, will know which commissioner they need to talk with; and commissioners should be able to get more accomplished with each having a narrow focus.

It’s hard to believe the commission has functioned in the past without delegated responsibilities, but, as they say, better late than never.