Franklin County commissioners butted heads this week about hiring an administrative assistant and a deputy county administrator.
Franklin County Administrator Fred Bowen's administrative assistant's last day on the job was Friday.
Toni Fulton starts her new position as executive secretary at Richland City Hall on Monday, leaving behind a desk at the courthouse and job that offers about $1,000 a week to start.
While 175 people applied for her former job, and 43 of them were selected to be tested at WorkSource in Kennewick, Bowen hesitated to make a hire.
Bowen told commissioners this week he needed direction because he wasn't sure if he, or the board, should make the final choice.
Commissioner Rick Miller said the board should interview Bowen's top three candidates and hire two.
"I think we are understaffed," Miller said, suggesting that could be a reason Fulton sought and found work elsewhere.
But commission Chairman Brad Peck protested.
"I couldn't disagree more," said Peck, who wants Bowen to present his recommendation for the single hire.
"It's ridiculous to have the board do interviews," he said.
And, Peck added, there's no need for a second person because some of the administrative assistant's workload will be reduced when the county hires someone to fill a new position as deputy county administrator.
Peck and Commissioner Bob Koch decided in July that creating a No. 2 position in the county administrator's office would relieve pressure on Bowen, who is expected to start spending half of his time as construction manager for the county new jail project.
The new deputy administrator would pick up labor negotiation duties, become the county's public records request expert and assume some responsibilities of the human services director.
Miller, who was out of town on county business during the July meeting, said he wasn't advised about creating the deputy county administrator job, and believes it isn't the way to go.
"I do not support it; we don't have the funding, and it costs more for a deputy administrator. The point is we are understaffed," he argued.
Miller also objected to Peck and Koch discussing the subject in an closed-door session in July.
"We should hire a professional to oversee the jail project and have (Bowen) do his job," he said.
The commissioners' tiff ended with Koch saying the testing of applicants at WorkSource was a good idea, and that Bowen should make the final decision on the hire.
Peck noted that the deputy administrator's position is still being evaluated and the job description has not been finalized.