Remember the theme from the 1984 hit movie “Ghostbusters,” — “When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?
The question facing Lincoln County commissioners at the Oct. 1 meeting was solving the problem of who a person can contact with questions if the head of a given county department is on leave or on vacation.
Commission member Varlin Higbee said people have complained at times when the head of a given department is not available and staff is not fully able to help them.
To resolve the problem, each member of the commission board has now been assigned as a liaison of a given department and each department head will communicate with that commissioner.
Commission chair Paul Donohue explained that, “We have a group of employees who are called non-contract employees. They function as the head of specific departments that serve the county.”
Kevin Phillips is the liaison with the Building and Planning Department; Paul Donohue is assigned to the Grants Department; Nate Katschke will answer for Health and Human Services; Higbee is the liaison for the Road Department; and Jared Brackenbury will liaise for Emergency Management and Fire Department.
For example, Higbee explained, if Cory Lytle, head of Building and Planning, knows he is taking a few days of personal leave, he will tell the commission supervisor the days he will be gone and when he will return.
In other cases, he noted, if a decision needs to be made regarding a particular issue in a timely manner, the overseeing commissioner will make the decision.
He cited the example of a person wanting to blade a road, but needing Road Department approval. If Shane Cheeney is out of town for a time, then Higbee will gather the necessary information and make the decision as to whether or not to have the road bladed.
“This has been an ongoing problem for a while, these delays and such, and this is our solution at this time,” Higbee said. “Some people think that we [department heads] are here 24/7 for everything they need, and we’re not; we have lives, too.”
Donohue said Pioche Town Manager Nate Adams falls under the category of a non-contract employee, “but he is rather under the direction of the Pioche Town Board, so he doesn’t need a supervisor.”
He said the new appointments will “give the department heads someone to work with and report to and a link to the board.”