Once again our esteemed board of commissioners is proving to us its approach to efficient and effective leadership, or not.

The decision to retitle the position of chief of staff may or may not be a big thing as long as the duties remain essentially the same and the organizational chart shows clearly the chain of command. Who reports to whom and how information and questions get from the lowest level employee to the desks of those in the leadership positions and back down again is important to the efficient operation of any company or governmental entity.


As I understand it, the president, in the executive office, has a chief of staff whose job it is to provide the information necessary for the president to make an informed decision on whatever matter is being considered and to filter out the extraneous minutiae. The position also is responsible for bringing in those from outside the government with pertinent information on the matter being considered. I would guess that the position at our county level would work in a similar manner.

The person on our local level, whatever the title may be, should be the non-political buffer between the elected officials and the civil servants at the various agencies and bureaus.

Now the big question around here is whether the current board of commissioners should appoint a new person to that post since at least three of them will be moving out of the county office building in December. Since the position is appointed as opposed to a civil service job, would any proposed candidate be willing to serve for a couple of months with no assurance of being offered the post by the incoming board?

How long would it take to post the position, vet and interview candidates and then offer the post to a potential appointee? I'm guessing that the process would take several months, and probably not be completed before the new board takes office. My suggestion for this is to post the position now, with a closing date some time at the end of September or middle of October, and begin accepting applications and resumes. Once the closing date has passed the personnel department could begin the vetting process and rating the applicants' qualifications. That should take until the election, and then the best candidates' resumes could be reviewed and the finalists called in for interviews by the new board with an appointment to the post shortly after their swearing in.

Whoever is performing those duties as an interim appointment should remain in the post until the new permanent person is named and then return to his former position if he was not chosen as the successful candidate. I don't think that the current board should have any input on the selection of the new chief of staff, or what ever the new title might be.

The less this board does between now and the seating of the new board would be the best thing to happen in their whole term of office.

Bill Kennedy writes every other Monday from Taneytown. Email him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.