(July 5, 2019) The question of where the county engineer’s position should fall in the organizational scheme of things stymied the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday, as they wrestled with whether the billet should remain in the development and review department or in the administration.

Chief Administrative Officer Harold Higgins said he hoped to get clarification on the commissioners’ choice on where County Engineer Bill Bradshaw should be assigned, but achieving a consensus proved elusive.

“I don’t think that this move changes anything drastically,” Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic said. “I think it frees up the ability for him to do what he’s been doing anyway, and maybe, [it] gives [the department of development review and permitting] less reason to lean on him.”

The county engineer position was assigned to the review and permitting department several years ago during the recession, according to Higgins, who added that the engineer’s “workload was split between county projects and permit review.”

He said the proposed shift to administration was broached during an April 9 meeting and was readdressed at a May 14 budget work session.

However, Higgins said he was unable to determine if the proposal was ever approved or denied.

Nevertheless, Higgins said in a memorandum that “your approved budget reflects the transfer,” and asked the commissioners to clarify their decision.

Commissioner Jim Bunting expressed concerns about the proposed change.

“This still makes no sense … it just seems like we’re [going to] make things worse,” Bunting said. 

Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic recommended county officials look at Sussex County, Delaware as an example of adequate permitting process. 

“As far as getting permits, there’s a reason to [the] work up there,” Mitrecic said. “It’s a lot easier than Worcester County or Ocean City ever dreamed of being.”

However, Bunting moved not to transfer the county engineer position to the county administration. Commissioner Chip Bertino seconded the motion, but it failed in a 3-4 vote with Commissioners Bud Church, Ted Elder, Mitrecic, and Diana Purnell dissenting.

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