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Cayuga County Legislature

Cayuga County legislators meet Tuesday night.

As Cayuga County officials study the many recommendations provided by a consulting group for improving county government, one point that requires action is a clearer delineation between governing and administrating.

The county paid CGR Management Consultants $75,000 to take a close look at its organizational structure and suggest changes. The completed report indicates that because the Legislature has already made changes on paper regarding the way it interacts with the county administrator, actually empowering the administrator and adhering to the chain of command will require "more cultural change than policy change."

The need to make that "cultural change" was on display at Tuesday's Legislature meeting when a lengthy debate took place over the possibility of spending $7,000 on a key fob door entry for staff at the county office building. Yes, the Legislature has to approve the expense, but something so inconsequential doesn't need to devolve into a power struggle about who has the right to make the decision.

If the county is serious about improving the way it operates, it makes sense to take a hard look at changing structures of the Legislature to be more compatible with the administrator form of government. We've heard individual legislators say for several years that they want to get the Legislature away from micromanaging, but concrete steps to ensure that happens have been lacking until recently.

We're not saying that the county should necessarily institute each and every suggestion made by the consultants, but there is clearly a need to fix what the CGR report calls the "blurred lines between governance and operations responsibilities."

After inviting an outside company to take a look at county operations — paying them $75,000 to do so — county leaders need to get serious about following through on implementation.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.