Information from WYSH Radio
Monday night, the newly-minted Anderson County Finance Committee held its first meeting. The new committee was created when the county switched its financial management system from one based upon a 1957 statute to one based upon a 1981 law. The committee, beginning with next year’s budget cycle, will be responsible for many of the fiscal duties currently held by the county mayor and the Budget Committee, which is chaired and appointed by the mayor.
The new Finance Committee is comprised of four county commissioners—Chuck Fritts, Tim Isbel, Myron Iwanski, and Philip Warfield—as well as County Mayor Terry Frank, Director of Schools Larry Foster, and Highway Superintendent Gary Long. The committee’s first responsibility will be to hire a new county budget director and a new purchasing director as longtime county employees Chris Phillips and Pamela Cotham, respectively, resigned those positions, citing uncertainty brought about by the change in systems. No timetable has been established for those hires but Monday, the committee did agree upon job descriptions and lists of qualifications and responsibilities for both jobs, which will be advertised by the county’s human resources director. The hope is that one or both of the vacant positions can be filled quickly.
In other business, the committee selected Iwanski, who helped spearhead the change in financial systems, to be its chair and Isbel to be its vice chair.
The change was approved initially by the County Commission in January but vetoed by Frank, who argued that the current system has worked extremely well, that not enough discussion had taken place in the public or among commissioners, and that the change was made without input from department heads and other stakeholders. During last month’s meeting, where the mayor’s veto was unanimously overriden, some who spoke to the Commission accused them of making the move for purely political reasons to strip the mayor of some of her powers.
Supporters of the change have argued that the new system allows commissioners to be more involved earlier in the budget process and that it increases their accountability.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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