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County Commissioners to vote on new administrator position

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County Commissioners have three options to have full control over the county budget. One is to hire a chief county administrator and a budget director. El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said that is the smartest option.

"You have a professional who is willing to execute the wishes of the court in a holistic way. If it takes pulling in other departments, he or she could pull in other departments to make it happen. That's the other benefit of having all the departments work for this person," Escobar said.

That option could cost the county more than $200,000 a year. However, based on hiring a fleet manager to oversee the county's vehicles, Escobar said hiring a county administrator could help the county save money in the long-run.

"Last week we learned he's probably going to save more than $100,000 which has more than paid for his salary, and there are more savings to come," Escobar said.

One option could give commissioners court full responsibility of the budget. Another option would also give commissioners court control of the budget and expand the court's power to allocate funds.

Commissioner Sergio Lewis said he favors the later option because it's not clear just how much a county administrator or a budget director would save.

"I feel that if directors and some of our staff and management where we've had problems were doing their job in full capacity, we would not have all the issues that we have from time to time," Lewis said.

He also said he's not sure whether commissioners should vote on this now.

"Should we be waiting to get a court that is there by 100 percent electorate?" Lewis said.

While some people expressed concern to commissioners court, saying they don't want a new position that is similar to a city manager role, some people KFOX14 spoke with said they would support it.

"You have someone having oversight over different parts of [the county] and commissions. I think it would be more beneficial because it would make everything more organized," west El Paso resident Nick Rose said.

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