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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is County Manager really Qualified for the Job?

Lee County Manager Karen Hawes
Is Lee County's manager really qualified to handle the job? It's hard to say because Fox 4 found Lee County's top dog has no job requirements. Four in your corner investigator Mike Mason exposes a huge loophole in county government. The Lee County charter dictates the rules and regulations of county government. It's also *supposed* to spell out the requirements of the county manager..
Wayne Daltry helped to write Lee County's charter 16 years ago and says, "We just wanted to make sure there was a bottom line set of qualifications for county manager."

The charter clearly states that the minimum qualifications including educational and administrative requirements for the county manager shall be established by county ordinance. But Four in your Corner couldn't find that ordinance. After searching through records and questioning county officials for two weeks we finally received an email from the county attorney's office stating "There is no such ordinance."

That was a big surprise to Daltry who says, "We thought they should have the qualifications stated that you would expect of a C.E.O. of a billion dollar organization.” But since there are no requirements he says, “That's a problem."

With no ordinance the county manager doesn't need to have any special qualifications. Daltry states, “Anyone can make a claim you are or you aren't qualified because there is no state of qualifications if there is no ordinance. It's a big oversight."

Attorney Beverly Grady was on Lee County's charter review committee three years ago. She says no one at the county brought this issue to her attention, "It would have been appropriate to come up at the charter review just to provide that to the county commission as something on a list that they may want to look at.”
When asked if the county attorney should be one to raise the issue Grady answered, "The county attorney could certainly." But no one did and Daltry now wonders how county officials could have missed something so important. He says, "The Board of County Commissioners should adopt an ordinance stating what the requirements should be.”

Lee County commissioners will have to decide if they want to adopt an ordinance and create those job requirements for the county manager. We'll follow up with them and let you know.

To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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