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County leadership changes are on the way

Robert Houk • Aug 12, 2018 at 12:17 AM

Changes are coming to Washington County government in September: Seven courthouse jobs were on the Aug. 2 ballot, four of which were filled by newcomers.

One of those is Joe Grandy, who will take the oath of office for county mayor — along with other newly elected county leaders — on Aug. 31.

Greg Matherly and his colleagues on the County Commission will also be sworn in on that date. Matherly, who currently serves as chairman of the commission, will be the longest-serving commissioner on the now-downsized 15-member board.

He said he would not object if his colleagues want him to keep the presiding gavel. Even so, Matherly said last week there might be another commissioner, or perhaps even the new county mayor, wanting the job.

“I’ve served as chairman for the last seven years,” he said. “I’ve really learned a lot. I’ll be giving it some prayerful thought to it in the next few days.”

Grandy said Friday that while he has given “some thought” to presiding as chairman of the County Commission, he hopes Matherly will continue in the role.

“My intention is to let the legislative body be the legislative body,” he said. “I think Greg has done a good job, and I hope commissioners will see fit to re-elect him.”

After a swearing-in ceremony on Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 5 of the George P. Jaynes Justice Center, county officials will get down to business. A special called meeting of the Washington County Commission will be held Sept. 10 to elect a chair and vice chair of the board, as well as appoint members to the Committee on Committees.

Commissioners will list their preferences for committee assignments at that meeting. The Committee on Committees will meet on Sept. 13 to make committee assignments, which will have to be approved by commissioners at their regular meeting on Sept. 24.

New rules for the realigned board requires each commissioner be appointed to at least two standing committees.

Matherly said this early work in September will “help keep things rolling,” and prevent the commission from getting behind on its business. Each member of the newly seated commission will have his or her own wireless microphones at monthly meetings, and be issued a digital tablet to keep up with lengthy agendas and documents relevant to county business.

“We will look a lot more professional and save money on printing costs,” he said.

There will be a number of appointments Grandy will be expected to make as county mayor before the end of September. Those include new members to the county’s Planning Commission, 911 board and to the city/county Animal Control Board.

Grandy doesn’t expect to make any significant personnel changes in the mayor’s office, but said he will be looking to fill a county staff attorney’s position that has been vacant since May.

“Beyond that, I will spend some time with the other officeholders to see how our priorities mesh,” he said.

He said that dialogue is likely to include discussion of a new personnel handbook for the county that will soon be presented to county commissioners.

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