Tuesday, July 29, 2014

County Administrator Al Vandenberg Should Have To Face Voters: It's Time For An Ottawa County Executive


IN 2002, when Ottawa County Commissioners hired someone for the position of County Administrator, two high profile candidates emerged: Al Vandenberg, and County Clerk Dan Krueger.

They chose Vandenberg.


Since then, for the last 12 years, Mr. Vandenberg has run the County reasonably well, but with many areas for improvement.

 For example, the scheme he concocted to cut health insurance for Commissioners was really meaningless-he gave them all a large pay raise to make up for it. Plus, many commissioners were already getting private healthcare through previous employers, the pay raise is something they can all enjoy. This pay rasie was enacted, despite taking away the right of voters to vote for a Register of Deeds because the County's "financial situation" required it. But where did the money for the Commissioner salary raises come from, Mr. Vandenberg?

A different form of county government exists-the County Executive structure.

An Ottawa County Executive would perform almost the same duties Vandenberg currently does, but would required to be voted on by Ottawa County citizens every four years. Plus, we could save money.

Vandenberg brings in approx. $150,000 annual in salary plus benefits. An elected County Executive could be paid $100,000/ year and still be higher paid than County Clerk/Register of Deeds Justin Roebuck.

Certainly Mr. Vandenberg doesn't do more work than Roebuck, and if $100,000 isn't enough for him, others will step up.

A notable County Executive structure is found in Oakland County, where L. Brooks Patterson has reigned for decades.

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