The Board of Preble County Commissioners approved the hiring of Randy Gilbert as the new County Administrator at their Monday, Aug. 11 meeting.
Gilbert, who has been the Preble County Sanitary Engineer for about two and half years, said the commissioners’ office approached him a couple of months ago about the job and said there has been discussion about it since then.
“It’s a challenge,” Gilbert said. “Even in this job I don’t do that much engineering. It’s more management anyway and it just seemed like it would be a logical step for me.”
Gilbert said he is also currently working on his master’s in public administration. He will have a salary of $90,000 and will begin the job once his current position is filled.
Preble County hasn’t had a county administrator for several years, so Gilbert said he will be learning the expectations of the job as he goes.
“I’m going to probably be, to a certain extent, reinventing the position since it has been vacant for so long,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert said the administrator serves at the pleasure of the board, so whatever the commissioners want accomplished is more important than things he might want to accomplish because it is his job to carry out the commissioners’ policy. But, he said he still has some ideas of initiatives he hopes to pursue.
“I would hope to accomplish some things that might make operations a little smoother,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been working at that even at my current position, adopting some standard contract language. It makes their job easier, it makes my job easier, things get accomplished more quickly, more efficiently, and I hope to be able to spread some of that throughout the rest of the county, at least within those managers or those departments that report to the board of county commissioners.”
Gilbert said one of the commissioners’ primary questions was how he was going to be able to keep track of what was happening at the landfill while being administrator.
“Commissioners made it very clear they want me to focus on the landfill until there is someone to replace me,” Gilbert said. “They were very clear that the landfill is a priority for me until my replacement’s on board and up to speed. Even after that’s in place, the landfill still needs to be an important focus for me.”
County Engineer Kyle Cross also attended the meeting to give commissioners his monthly update.
Cross said the bridge on Seven Mile Road is continuing to be renovated, with the floor being worked on and the back wall getting poured. The bridge should be completed by the end of the August. Cross had said in a previous meeting that the county was having difficulty with U.S. Bridge and getting the bridge completed.
“We had a conversation with them and they understood where we were coming from so it should be smooth sailing from here out,” Cross said.
Cross said the county now has all three of its mowers up and running, so the county should be able to catch up some with the unseasonable growth rate of grass.
There was also an Emergency Management Agency monthly update presented at the meeting. Preble County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director David Anderson said for the past several months Fire Association meetings have not been well attended, so he said there is a good chance the association will be disbanded.
He also said the Ohio EMA will be restructuring from eight regions to five and eliminate field liaisons in these regions. He said the Ohio EMA hasn’t quite determined yet what counties will be in what regions, but he said he hopes Preble County doesn’t get split off from other counties that are currently in its same region. The current region has put in for a grant to train all EMA directors the same, so if something happens, the county can just pull a director from Darke County, for example, and all the counties can help each other out.
He said many regional directors are not happy the field liaisons are being taken away because they have been a great help. The field liaisons are trained to help in a situation to get counties the most help in the shortest amount of time. Now, regions will have an exercise and training person, a grants person and a planner person to help out.
“We don’t think that they’re going to be able to get as qualified of people as what we have now to be able to help us,” Anderson said. “We will have to rely on neighboring counties for help, and that’s the good thing because we have already implemented that.”
Commissioners also approved the appointment of Michelle Gebhart to the Family and Children First Council.
The board of commissioners meets at 9 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the Preble County Courthouse.