The News editorial – “keep freeholders equal”

An editorial in the News of Cumberland County today mirrors what I said yesterday, albeit more gracefully.

A proposal to give the freeholder who oversees the personnel committee veto power over every county hire is a bad idea.

A resolution brought before the freeholder board this week would require approval from six people before a new county employee is hired — the department for which the employee would work, the county’s chief financial officer, the freeholder liaison to the department for which the employee would work, the freeholder director, county administrator and the freeholder personnel committee chair.

It makes sense for the freeholder director to have a say on all hires, but the rest of the freeholders are supposed to have equal standing.

The freeholder liaison to the department in question should have a vote on those hires. Since each freeholder is a liaison to multiple departments, the hiring authority is spread equally across the board.

Giving the one freeholder overseeing the personnel committee this added power to veto any hire upends this balanced arrangement.

In a way, this amounts to having two freeholder directors, at least when it comes to hiring decisions.

It seems to me that with the county facing a multi-million dollar deficit YET AGAIN, our Freeholders would be better served looking for ways to balance the budget and reduce county spending rather than participating in this ludicrous power play.

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