Commissioners right to leave position unfilled
The Trumbull County commissioners made the right decision last week when they announced they would opt against replacing Trumbull County Administrator Rebecca Gerson.
Gerson fled abruptly after just five months in her three-faceted job as Trumbull County administrator / purchasing director / transit administrator. The position had been created in March by a 2-1 vote with Commissioners Dan Polivka and Mauro Cantalamessa voting yes, against Commissioner Frank Fuda’s no vote. Fuda had disagreed with creation of the new job, maintaining that the multiple responsibilities were simply too much for one person to handle. We agreed.
Only now, after Gerson resigned, have the three commissioners finally agreed on the matter. They sent out a media release last week, signed by all three commissioners, announcing that they would not be advertising to fill the vacant post, but rather will “be restructuring and better utilizing our existing staff.”
According to the statement, Trumbull County Human Resources Director Richard Jackson will be serving as point person while the commissioners and their office staff internally assume the administrative and purchasing duties that Gerson had been hired to handle. The commissioners already have said they will hire for the position of Trumbull County transit administrator.
“Through a revamped organizational chart and more responsibility on existing staff, we will realize an immediate savings without any additional personnel.”
We are glad the commissioners finally have realized it is possible to absorb these duties without adding the additional personnel. We just wonder what took so long.
Sadly, in the five months while Gerson was on the job, commissioners doled out more than $35,600 in salary to her, plus health and pension benefits. Those are tax dollars that could have been saved if they simply had implemented the staff restructuring before Gerson’s April 9 hiring that they suddenly realized is possible.
Nevertheless, we encourage commissioners to continue on this path of savings and urge that they continue it by digging deeply into operations to exploring other opportunities for new savings.
Private industry always has operated this way. It’s high time our elected leaders do the same.