"My position on the proposed 'home rule' charter is that it dilutes the power of the voters far too much. This proposal contains a number of issues I have concerns about, but the one that bothers me the most is the fact that the proposed 'County Administrator' would be appointed by a vote of four out of the five County Commissioners, instead of being elected by voters at ageneral election. This means that even though the proposed 'County Administrator' would be performing most of the duties of the current County Commissioners, this individual would not be directly accountable to the people of Lancaster County.
"The following is copied-and-pasted from the proposed 'home rule' charter:
ARTICLE III – ADMINISTRATION
Section 3.01 Administrative Power. The administrative power of the County shall be vested in the Administrative Branch. The Administrative Branch shall consist of the County Administrator, the Office of Management and Budget, and such other departments and agencies as are established in the Administrative Code.
Section 3.02 Powers and Duties of the County Administrator. The County Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the County and shall be responsible to the Board of County Commissioners for the proper administration of all affairs of the County. To that end, the County Administrator shall have the power and shall be required to:
1. Enforce the ordinances, resolutions, regulations and policies of the County, the provisions of this charter, and the laws of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pertaining to the government of the County.
2. Supervise and be accountable for the proper administration of all departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget, except those specifically placed under the jurisdiction of any other officer by law or by this charter.
3. Administer the personnel code as provided elsewhere in this charter, appoint candidates for department head positions subject to confirmation by the Board of County Commissioners, hire all other appropriate employees of the County and, when necessary, suspend or remove employees of the County except as otherwise provided in this charter.
4. Develop, under the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, the multi-year strategic and fiscal plans for the County and provide for the annual review and update of these plans.
5. Advise the Board of County Commissioners on the financial condition of the County and report to the Board of Commissioners monthly with respect to matters of County administration.
6. Investigate the affairs of the County or any department or division thereof; investigate complaints in relation to matters concerning the administration of the government of the County and in regard to services provided by the County; and see that franchises, permits and privileges granted by the County are faithfully observed.
7. Provide an additional point of access for citizen and group presentation of requests and complaints relative to delivery of County services or execution of County business.
8. Attend regular and special meetings of the Board of County Commissioners unless excused therefrom and take part in the discussion of matters coming before the Board of Commissioners. The County Administrator shall be entitled to notice of all regular and special meetings of the Board of Commissioners.
9. Designate in writing, subject to the approval of the Board of County Commissioners, another administrative officer of the County to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the County Administrator during a temporary absence or disability of the County Administrator.
10. Perform such other duties as may be required by the Board of County Commissioners, not inconsistent with the County charter, law, or ordinances.
"The 'County Administrator' would also have extensive powers under other provisions of the proposed 'home rule' charter, including near-total control over the Lancaster County budget (see Article V). For example:
*3. Preparation. At least forty-five (45) days but not more than seventy-five (75) days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year the County Administrator shall prepare and submit to the Board of County Commissioners an operating budget and capital spending program presenting the financial plan for conducting the affairs of the County for the ensuing year. The operating budget and capital plan shall be consistent with and reflect the priorities and strategies of the multi-year strategic and fiscal plans required to be adopted under Article II, Section 2.07 of this charter. The annual budgets submitted by the County Administrator shall include a written budget message which shall serve as a simple and clear general summary of
the detailed contents of the various budgets.
"I am not comfortable with the direction of Lancaster County government being under the control of an individual who I never had a chance to vote for or against. I am convinced this is a deliberate attempt to make certain that no two elected County officials can ever again have the power to interfere with a special interest project, like Dick Shellenberger and Molly Henderson attempted with the taxpayer-financed hotel and convention center project."