Tioga County Manager Future Uncertain

By Kiersten Mathieu

Tioga County Manager Future Uncertain

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 20, 2006 at 12:46 AM EDT

John Byrne was the first Tioga County manager.

He was hired with the idea that he would oversee the complexities day to day government.

When Byrne resigned, the legislature returned to having the Legislative Chairman act as manager.

The dual job now falls on the shoulders of Chairman Don Burns.

At Thursday's work session, Burns said he researched county documents, and can't find a reason to have a separate manager.

"I can point to every single duty he had and show you where the department heads, chairman of the legislature, clerk of the legislature, the legislators themselves are doing all of these things," says Burns.

Legislator Dale Weston says a county manager could still be valuable.

But he wants the see the duties outlined.

"I'm afraid sometimes that it could cause a lot of confusion. And I think the county or every government needs stability," said Weston.

Legislators are listening to what taxpayers are saying about hiring a new county manager.

"My constituents have said they don't want it and that is all they have talked to me. And I have to go by what my constituents want," said Tioga County Legislator George Penney.

"They don't need one. They got enough people here to run this county without paying another county manager," said Russell Avis of Owego.

But other voters think the position is important.

"Just like any business, if you have one specific head you know who to blame and who to direct your questions to," said Maryann Holt of Berkshire.

To answer their own questions, Tioga Legislators are now going to review the county charter from 2000 and other documents, looking for any reasons to keep or get rid of county manager.

Legislators also asked the county's lawyer to research the possibility of the taxpayers voting on whether they want a county manager.

They will discuss everything again at the next work session in February.

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