The right and responsibility of citizens to participate and oversee County government is the essence of the Home Rule Charter. It is the responsibility of the County Council to manage the County and all of its departments, particularly with the passage of Proposition 2. I believe that making the Council responsible for administrative, as well as legislative functions, should address these issues if we elect the right people to the Council.
There’s no question that the citizens of the county are The Boss and they exercise their authority through their vote. I don’t agree, however, with the question’s premise that county departments control the council. I know for me that is not true. From my perspective it is important to note that the county and the council need the various departments to provide services and data on the status of their activities. And, similar to effectively run Boards of Directors in the business world, it is vital to balance a strong working relationship with the departments with a healthy skepticism of the data provided. It’s important to have clear and open dialog with both department managers and with those that they manage, to get a ground floor view of the work, activities and results.
The citizens of San Juan County are the constituents who are served by county government. The organizational structure whereby department heads report to the County Manager and the Council is established in order to provide accountability and supervision. The goal of the structure is to provide the best level of service possible for the amount of tax revenues collected.
The ‘real boss’ of San Juan County is the voters. There are many taxpayers who don’t vote in San Juan County and have no say over how their tax dollars are spent. It is up to the voters to elect the Council Members who have legislative and administrative authority and who adopt the County budget. The voters also elect the Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, Judges and Clerk who uphold and enforce the laws; and the Assessor, Treasurer, and Auditor who collect, invest, and audit all revenues and expenditures.
The taxpayers are the boss. We need to get the citizens of the county back in control. We need a strong Council with management skills; people that will hold employees to performance standards and expected results. I bring those skills to the Council.