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Madison County: Miller, Krause to serve as interim county administrators

Russell Lura, retiring administrative assistant to the Madison County Board of Supervisors chairman, will be temporarily replaced by Assistant Director of Planning Paul Miller and Personnel Director Mary Krause. That is the recommendation of the committee assembled to examine the position.

The recommendation was accepted at the Madison County Government Operations Committee meeting last week; it still must go to the full board at next month's meeting.

Miller will assume Lura's day-to-day responsibilities upon his retirement late next month, and Krause will take on his budget officer duties. Miller's pay will be raised to Lura's salary -- about $86,000 annually -- while he fills in, and Krause will receive the $5,000 budget officer stipend for her work.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker appointed a committee to evaluate whether to keep the position as-is or to change its scope and definition. The committee's recommendation is that the position be transformed into that of "true county administrator," and requests for special projects will have to go through the chairman of the board.

Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Richard O. Bargabos (R -- Smithfield), who chairs the county's Government Operations Committee, said this individual will take direction from the chairman or by majority resolution of the full board of supervisors, rather than from individual members of the board.

The committee decided the position will be a contractual one, with the first term ending Dec. 31, 2010, or about two-and-a-half years. After that, appointments will be made on a four-year basis on off election years to prevent political influence dictating the employment of the person who accepts the job.

"There's popular views, then there's good decisions," Bargabos said. "They are not the same things. What people want and what's good for the county may be very different."

Bargabos said he wanted the person in this position to be able to make tough decisions without fear of reprisal, and he said the position was too important to go unfilled.

"We did this so there are no vacancies in these positions while the search commences," Bargabos said.

Becker said the county will conduct a northeast search to find a qualified candidate.

A public hearing to enact Local Law No. 3 for 2008 will be scheduled on the matter.

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