Message from Verna J. McDaniel,
Washtenaw County Administrator
It is truly an honor to serve as your County Administrator. I have been in public service for 38 years, 31 of which have been with Washtenaw County. I have spent most of my time at the County as the Director of Human Resources, and prior to becoming the County’s Administrator in 2010 I also served as the Deputy Administrator.
I am proud to be a part of this organization built upon Guiding Principles, Core Competencies and a vision of being world class. I plan to build upon the knowledge and experience which has enabled this organization to become a world class service provider. I will uphold this legacy by reminding myself and my team, every day, why we’re here – steadfast dedication to servicing the public and a commitment to excellence. This commitment is more important than ever given the current economic climate.
The financial status of the organization impacts each of us. I pledge to keep you informed on the financial condition of the County. We remain committed to the Guiding Principles, especially #1: Long-Term Fiscal Stability. However, the ability to provide stability has been challenged and will continue to be for the next several years primarily due to the decline in property taxes. I remain committed to preserving services and jobs wherever possible, while leading the organization through strategic policy, programmatic, and financial decisions with a long-term perspective.
The time is right then, to focus on the long - term view for our financial future. As stewards of Washtenaw County, we are all responsible for its fiscal stability and helping to leave a strong legacy for future generations of citizens and employees alike. This year, like the last several years, is filled with significant economic difficulties as the public need and demand for services continue to increase and resources continue to shrink – albeit at a slower rate. This community needs us now more than ever before. So it’s important to me to build a budget that allows us to provide the best services, the right services, in the most cost effective manner possible. This budget is critical to ensuring we make the best decisions for our community in this great time of need. We can be successful, but only if we work together.
As we all know by now, we still have a challenge this year to identify structural solutions that are effective in 2014 and 2015 in the amount of $6.88M that will provide a balanced budget through 2017. And this projection is till very preliminary as we are awaiting our 2013 Equalization report and beginning to understand the implications of policy changes recently made by the State of Michigan. I don’t have all the answers. I need each and every one of you to engage in this process, share your ideas, be informed and get in the ‘know’. It is my responsibility as County Administrator to bring a recommended budget to the Board of Commissioners, and I take this responsibility very seriously. However, this can only be successful in partnership with each and every one of you.
As we continue to provide world class services, I believe open communication is critical. I consider it one of the most important aspects of my job as Administrator and I am committed to sharing as much as I can, as quickly as possible, without sacrificing thoughtfulness. In an effort to keep you informed I have a newsletter that is published monthly. The newsletter includes updates on key initiatives, financial information and highlights from various County departments. I hope you will find these publications informative.
I am very proud of our community, and I know you are as well. We have made a positive impact in this community, and we know we must continue to focus on community and economic development that will preserve and grow the level of services our residents expect now and in the future. Your overwhelming support for our County and the collaborative efforts of our County staff, Board of Commissioners and our community partners will continue to make Washtenaw County a great place to call home.
In closing, I’d like to thank the residents of this great community for your support and the employees for their steadfast commitment and dedication to public service.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Verna J. McDaniel