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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 6:17pm

El Paso County votes to reorganize operation, $254,000 to hire new Chief Administrator

KDBC
Monday, July 21, 2014 - 6:51pm

Lots of changes are coming to El Paso County -- costing taxpayers $254,000. Monday, County Commissioners approved a plan to reorganize the way they do business, saying the quarter of a million dollar move may actually save taxpayers money in the long run.

One the biggest changes taxpayers will notice is the hiring of a new chief administrator -- who will oversee all of the county's departments. The position is similar to that of a city manager and the overall goal is to eliminate wasteful spending.

Majority rules -- County Commissioners passed a motion to reorganize and hire a Chief Administrator who will oversee all county departments. "This person in some respects like a traffic cop. Directing the traffic that's not getting directed on a day-to-day basis today,” County Judge Veronica Escobar, El Paso said.

The $254,000 move was the most expensive of three options. A choice County Commissioner Carlos Leon initially said no to. "It's not so much that I wasn't in favor. I'm looking at the total costs, what the constituents in my district are telling me,” County Commissioner Carlos Leon, Precinct 2, El Paso said.

The Chief Administrator will also help implement county policies. "Is a go-to person for department heads for crises or emergencies that would normally have to wait for a posted meeting, the next time commissioners court meets,” the Judge explained.

Another big change to operations is the way the county handles its financial forecast. Currently, a Counsel of Judges oversees the multi-million dollar budget. Now, commissioners will have complete oversight with the hopes of eliminating wasteful expenses. "Funding should go to departments and programs that are highly functioning, high performing, and that show a return on the investment,” she said.

The County Judge says while the cost to reorganize seems high the payoff is worth investment. "We are probably going to be able to achieve at least that much savings over the next 12 months,” she explained

But skeptics say only time will tell, “I've got to say there's a lot of expenses that are facing the county as we move forward,” Leon told us.

County officials tell me they hope to open up the hiring process for the new position by January. As far as other jobs within county government -- no cuts are expected.
 

Politics

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