Russell Smith keeps county manager post
The Dukes County Commission voted Wednesday to continue Russell Smith's employment, increase his employment to full-time status, and increase his salary to $60,000 per year.
The move followed a review of Mr. Smith's performance since he was hired in April to fill the vacant post of county manager as a subcontractor. The process was outlined in a one-year contract issued by the county commissioners at that time. The contract called for a positive review after six months, for Mr. Smith to continue as a subcontractor. Commission chairman Les Leland said the contract would continue through June 30, 2009, when commissioners expect to negotiate a new contract.
Hiring Mr. Smith as a subcontractor, and not a county employee, was a strategy to work around the requirements of the county charter, which governs the way the county operates. The charter says the county manager must work full-time, and serve an "indefinite term." The Dukes County Charter Study Commission has recommended those terms be changed to give the commissioners more flexibility in hiring or dismissing the county manager. A change in the charter would require special legislation approved by state lawmakers. Mr. Smith says that effort is already in the works, and he expects legislation to be submitted early in the 2009 session.
The performance review included formal written evaluations from the county department heads and interviews with town government leaders who work directly and indirectly with Mr. Smith.
Since April, Mr. Smith has also held the job of legislative liaison for state representative Eric Turkington, a post he occupied for the previous 12 years. Mr. Smith said he would not continue in the legislative post now that he is employed full time as county manager.
The county manager exercises direct supervisory control over his administrative assistant, the county rodent control officer, county beaches, a health access program, the veterans' agent, and a budget of less than $1 million.