Now it’s official. Caldwell County is one of very few counties in Texas to have a full-time, non-elected county administrator. (The County Judge is by law the elected county administrator.)
In 2001, the National Association of County Administrators said this, “In Texas, with 254 counties, the most of any state, county administrators are nonexistent.” While that’s not the case now, very few counties in Texas, and certainly none as small as Caldwell, have non-elected administrators.
After the approval of the job description (written by Ron Heggemeier who has been appointed to the position) by Commissioners Cyrier, Buchholtz, and Judge Bonn, Commissioner Joe Roland brought up the need for this position to be bonded.*
You would think that the members of the Court would jump right on this and make sure that the county is protected. Not just now, but also in the future. Such a bond is not unusual when an employee, public or private, oversees the handling of money or actually takes care of finances.
According to the Texas Local Government Code, many elected officers and appointed employees require bonding. In fact, in Section 81.022 of the Code, the County Commissioners must be bonded. So why not the person who will now actually do most of the Court’s duties?
County Auditor Larry Roberson suggested that the county already spends too much money on bonds. Really? It’s too costly to insure the county from loss?
This is not to say the Mr. Heggemeier has ill intent in this position, but what about someone he supervises? And Mr. Heggemeir will be supervising virtually every employee in the county.
After all the County Tax Assessor-Collector recently had to resign because she couldn’t be bonded due to of the actions of an employee. The bond insurance company considered her a risk. Is the County Administrator any less vulnerable?
Commissioner Roland is absolutely correct: The County Administrator needs to be bonded. The cost is not too high, and can be taken out of his department’s budget. Contact the County Judge and your Commissioner to let them know you want Caldwell County protected.
What do you think? Is it too costly to protect Caldwell County by having the new County Administrator bonded?