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Commissioners face major decisions

November 15, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

After being sworn in Dec. 1, the new Washington County Commissioners will be making some important decisions.

The body must choose a commission president and make four appointments to important positions, including county administrator.

The commissioners-elect met Tuesday with Commission President Gregory I. Snook and County Administrator Rodney Shoop for an informal orientation. Shoop went over the tentative schedule for the swearing-in and told them they needed to start thinking about who should become commission president.

Only Snook, a Republican, is returning as a commissioner. He will be joined by Independent Bert L. Iseminger Jr., Republican William J. Wivell and Democrats Paul L. Swartz and John L. Schnebly.

Traditionally the commission president belongs to the political party that has the majority on the commission. However, there will be no majority party on the next commission.

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The commissioners may choose to keep Snook as president since he was the top vote-getter and is the only incumbent.

"I will do what the rest of the group would like to do. We need to make sure whatever we do it is a group decision," Snook said.

Iseminger, Wivell and Schnebly said this week they had not yet reached any opinions about who they think should head the commission. Swartz could not be reached for comment.

Shoop also told the new commissioners it is county custom for four positions to be appointed at the first meeting of a new term. The positions are county clerk, currently held by Joni L. Bittner; county attorney, currently Richard W. Douglas; county administrator, currently Shoop; and budget and finance director, currently Debra Bastian.

Unlike outgoing commissioner Ronald L. Bowers, none of the new commissioners have publicly criticized Shoop or indicated displeasure with his performance.

"I would like to continue, but if it is their desire that they do not want me to continue then I won't continue," Shoop said. "That's their decision. That is why they sit in that seat."

If the commissioners want to postpone a decision on those appointments for a later meeting, that is also their prerogative, he said.

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