County to fill No. 2 job

Published 9:25 am Friday, December 31, 2010

COURTLAND—Against the recommendation of Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to fill the vacant assistant administrator position, which pays a salary in mid-$60,000s.

The position’s annual benefits package costs about $20,000.

For economic reasons, Johnson said he had suggested not hiring a replacement for former Assistant County Administrator Jay Randolph, who resigned at the end of September. He was paid $66,447 annually. Randolph is now the county administrator for Lunenburg County.

Supervisor Chairman Dallas Jones said he favored filling the position in case something should happen to Johnson.

“We don’t have anyone else in place to take over for him,” Jones said, “It’s to our advantage to have someone else to be able to step in when Mike has to go on leave.”

“The board wants to relieve Mike of all the stuff he does,” Jones continued. “The public has no idea of the things he does. We know and we don’t want him to get stressed out and be overworked.”

There’s no doubt in Supervisor Walter Young’s mind that Johnson can handle the job alone.

“When he leaves, there’s nobody who can answer questions, and he doesn’t need to be loaded down,” Young said. “He’s too modest. He can handle it, I’m sure.”

He noted the assistant administrator’s salary is included in the budget.

Supervisor Ronnie West also supported filling the position for when Johnson is on vacation and should he miss work due to illness or family needs.

“We really would come to a halt,” West said. “We need the continuation that an assistant county manager would bring. What would happen if Mike chose another job? We need someone who understands us.”

Saving the money on the salary would be nice, “but we are understaffed throughout the county,” West said.

“We probably do the most business with the fewest people of any county around us,” he said. “You go to Isle of Wight or any other county, and there’s so many more people in place.”

Supervisor Anita Felts said she believes Johnson needs the help. In addition, the county recently lost two longtime department heads — Finance Director Julia Williams and Building and Zoning Administrator Robert Barnett.

“We’ve got two great employees to fill their positions, but they still may not know (everything),” Felts said. “They are doing a great job, but as far as being with the county for a number of years . . .”

Supervisor Walt Brown said he wants to make sure county residents are properly served.

“It’s so important that we fill that position,” Brown said.

The county is looking for someone who can work with public works, community development and public facilities maintenance. The successful candidate must possess the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration, planning or a related field with at least five years of experience in a similar size locality.

The county will begin reviewing applications on Jan. 24.