Anyone who walks into a new office on the first day of a new job knows how daunting it can be to be the new person on the team.
The same rings true for a new department head starting at Oneida County.
To help ease the transition, Oneida County Board Chairman Ted Cushing wants the county to look into creating a mentoring program for its new department heads.
He brought up the idea during a meeting of the county's Transition Committee last week.
"One thing I want to bring up, because of something that was said while talking after a meeting, is the mentoring of new department heads," Cushing said. "I think that's something we need to look at and maybe (the Labor Relations/Employee Services Committee) needs to take that on. If we have a brand new department head, yes they're given certain directions by the committee of jurisdiction, yes they're given certain directions from Margie (Sorenson, finance director), from Lisa (Charbarneau, human resources director), from Mary (Bartelt, county clerk), but we should put together a mentoring package to help them out. They need to be mentored in terms of proper agenda structure and open meeting laws and those things."
Cushing said the mentoring program would be especially beneficial to department heads who come in from the private sector, who may not understand all of the rules and regulations that county employees have to follow.
It would help any new department head realize that they can go to Bartelt for help creating agendas and setting meeting dates, or to Corporation Counsel Brian Desmond for help with open meeting laws, quorum laws, and the creation of agendas and resolutions, while also helping them understand what all the other departments within the county do and how they can be of service, Cushing said.
The rest of the committee supported Cushing's idea and directed Charbarneau to begin working on creating the program.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at marcus@ rivernewsonline.com.
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