By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Public Works Director Frank Gifford will become the Central Services director.
Gifford's position, which he has held since 1999, will be filled by County Engineer Monte Reinders, who also will continue his duties as county engineer.
As Central Services director, Gifford will oversee information services, facilities management and fleet services for all county government.
He also will take on responsibilities in budgeting, strengthening administrative systems and special projects.
Both appointments are effective Aug. 1. Reinders and Gifford are both at the top of their pay range. Each earns $99,819, counting a cost-of-living increase for Reinders.
“This is a pretty typical arrangement,” Reinders said.
“A number of counties have combined the two positions,” he added.
“I'm going to prioritize the work so I can concentrate on the most important tasks at hand.”
Reinders said he will rely on “a team of managers” to attend to public works issues.
“The funding available to preserve the infrastructure is a challenge, but our road crews have done a good job taking care of the roads,” Reinders said.
The Central Services director slot has been vacant since 2008, when Alan Sarten left the position at the beginning of the economic downturn.
“We left the position empty because the county was facing budget troubles,” said County Administrator Philip Morley.
“We are filling it now because conditions have improved and expect that the position will play a central role in county operations and will increase our efficiency.”
One of the issues that will be addressed is the improvement of capital facilities, which Morley said has been neglected.
Two of these immediate projects is the seismic upgrade of the Jefferson County Courthouse and the renovation of the gym at the Port Townsend Community Center, Morley said.
“These repairs are needed and can't be put off much longer,” Morley said.
Gifford first joined the county in 1989 as capital projects manager and worked as engineering services manager before being tapped to head the Public Works Department.
Reinders joined Jefferson County Public Works in 1998 as an engineer and subsequently managed road improvement projects and numerous road repairs.
He became county engineer in 2004 and has managed the county roads program since that time.
Morley said the county is in slightly better shape than in years past and will not need to impose an expected $120,000 in cuts to the general fund.
This is a result of keeping expenses “flat,” though general departments are allowed a 1 percent budget increase in 2014.
This makes the budget outlook “less grim,” according to Morley, but still doesn't cover the costs of inflation.
The county is operating with a $49 million annual budget, with $16 million of that amount in the general fund.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.