Cumberland County Consistency

James Martin, the Cumberland County manager, recently announced he is retiring and stepping down from his position after 13 years of excellent and well-documented service. He came into the position with experience and quietly and professionally managed the people and assets of Cumberland County. No doubt he is leaving our county better off than when he came.

12-25-13-pub-notes.gifFinding Martin’s replacement will not be an easy task. His style was abundant with patience and pride and he had an uncanny ability to position the right people in the right places. With his departure, many of those same loyal, dedicated and talented county professionals are looking for the opportunity to step up and serve county government in a management position. Many are con관dent they have the talent, ability and historical background needed to keep Cumberland County on a progressive and challenging growth track in the coming years.

The Board of County Commissioners is charged with 관nding someone quali관ed and competent to 관ll this position. In the next few weeks a lot of discussion on whether to 관ll this position from within the talent we already employ or hire an outside agency and do an external statewide or national search will take center stage on the Commissioner’s agenda.

Don’t kid yourself, this is a big, big decision.

It is my hope that they first take a diligent look from within. I offer up a couple reasons for this.

First, dedicated, accomplished and talented employees should always have of the first opportunity to advance and improve their station.

Second, the needs of our county residents are many. An outside search is extremely expensive, with costs sometimes ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 — an expense that county taxpayers should not have to needlessly endure. Sure the money to finance this venture is available; however, just because the money is available to spend doesn’t mean we have a commitment to needlessly spend it before we have exhausted every other opportunity to do the right and just thing.

Another way to look at it is to ask yourself in what other ways could we better spend that money to improve our county? Or, for how many homeless people could that money provide shelter? How many children could we feed or how much could we add to our parks and recreation program or contribute to the quality of life of our senior citizens?

When we think of how that money could be spent and how many opportunities we have to improve our community, rather than spending it on doing a search with an outside agency, why shouldn’t we look closely at the human resources we have close to home? I believe this is fiscal responsibility. I have a lot of trust and faith in our County Commissioners and I’m sure that ultimately, they will make the right decision.

I would be very disappointed if that decision did not include looking at the dozens of people whom we have in the county system right now that could step up and fill the shoes of James Martin.

He will be missed.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank you, our faithful readers, for your support and encouragement over the past year. The past few years have not been kind to newspapers, but it is with your continued support, that we are still here, still telling the story of our community. If we are the voice of our community, we know that each of you are its heart.

Thank you for reading.

The entire staff of Up & Coming Weekly would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and an awesome 2014!

Photo: Cumberland County Manger James E. Martin, left, with Dorothy and Julian McIntyre at  the Dec. 16 Board of Commissioners Meeting. Mr. McIntrye was recognized by the commissioners for his recent induction into the  Cumberland County Agricultural Hall of Fame.Photo Credit: Jon Soles

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