Greene County Commission adds position of GFO

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Greene County finances have fallen dangerously behind leaving Greene

County officials looking for answers. The commission was stil discussing the 2003 audit at their last meeting and decided something had to be done to make the county run more efficiently.

Monday, the commission took aggressive action to solve the problem by adding the position of chief financial officer to the list of county employees..

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The addition of this job met a great deal of opposition and split the commission. However, in the end, the support was enough to push it through.

The argument against the position was a lack of funding for a salary. The argument for the position also dealt with a lack of funding. Favorable arguments said the addition would help the county get caught up on records and run more efficiently leading to more money.

Commission Chairman Chris Beeker Jr. said he thought the position was the county’s best alternative to their financial woes.

“I think it would be in our county’s best interest to hire a chief financial officer to oversee the records and books and that sort of thing so that we can be efficient and up to date in our processes,” Beeker said. “I recommend that we advertise for the job and hire someone to help us in that area.”

Commissioner William Johnson argued the county was not financially able to add the position. Johnson said an extra salary would only make things worse.

“I don’t see how we can afford it,” Johnson said. “If we had not received the money from New York our budget would not even be met. To put another person on the payroll just does not make sense. I wouldn’t see a problem if we could afford, but we can’t afford it.”

Beeker agreed the addition would be costly, but said in the long run a chief financial officer would have a positive impact.

“We can’t afford not to,” Beeker said. “This is the audit for 2003, not 2004. We can’t afford to have our audits a year behind.”

Johnson said he felt the commission and other county workers could get together and find an answer.

“We need to look at something among ourselves and find some answers to our problems and get this thing moving,” Johnson said. “Just adding people is not the right answer. I think we have plenty of staff. I think we could just get a consultant to come in and help us. This is a temporary problem, why hire a permanent employee.”

Commissioner Donald Means said consultants were already in place and wondered why they had not been able to solve the problems.

“We have a consultant and this is still an issue,” Means said. “Does the consultant know what they are supposed to do?”

The firm that is being used is not actually a consulting firm. The firm simply tells the county what they have and what they spent. They do not offer advice on where to spend money.

The new position would likely be a permanent addition.

A salary for the position has not yet been determined and how the position will be filled in still up in the air.