County Administrator Len Sossamon got his first annual report card from his bosses this week and they are pleased overall with his performance up to now.
All five county commissioners gave Sossamon passing grades and said he was either meeting or exceeding expectations.
And most of them concluded his performance evaluation with the same request: stay the course on economic development and jobs creation.
Or, in the case of Commission Chairman Dave Russell: implement the long-awaited strategic plan for growth.
In his self-evaluation, Sossamon rated his performance a high 4.07, or exceeding expectations.
He indicated he has demonstrated “solid analytical ability” and is able to anticipate problems and consequences. He referenced the restructuring put in place which moved all storm water planning and operations under the Department of Public Works.
He also highlighted his restructuring of animal services, which was facing a crisis when he got here because of a lack of procedures, proper protocol, low morale and a highly publicized botched euthanasia of a dog.
“I believe I have a good sense for prioritizing issues and work loads,” Sossamon wrote. “I feel that I have the ability to delegate and follow-up on the progress (of) members of the county’s governing team so that issues are managed and (resolved) expeditiously.”
“I believe that I have demonstrated an appropriate level of humor to help lighten the load of work and take the edge off of what at times can be stressful situations,” he said. “Yet, I still maintain the decorum necessary for the moment.”
And about that strategic plan?
It’s coming, he indicated on the evaluation.
County Commissioner Jim Adkins praised Sossamon’s ability to arrange work and apply resources.
“Keep the economic development program on track for future workforce and tax base,” Adkins wrote.
Russell gave Sossamon the highest grade possible for his ability to resolve conflicts and his negotiating skills. He also acknowledged Sossamon’s sense of humor.
“Len has done well in his efforts to boost morale in his management team and county employees in general,” Russell said. ‘His community outreach program has struck a positive chord with the public as well.”
Commissioner Nick Nicholson said Sossamon “needs to know when county policy is not followed (and) having people reporting to him telling him what is going on.”
Nicholson called him a hard worker who follows board direction.
He stressed that Sossamon needs to follow through on his commitment to get employee evaluations done annually. The process had fallen off track, he said.
“After a year on the job, I would have hoped that you knew about this without me (bringing) it to your attention,” he wrote.
Nicholson also advised the administrator that the utilities department has too many supervisors and needs reorganizing.
County Commissioner Wayne Dukes gave the highest grades, placing Sossamon’s performance mostly in the “excellent-proficient” category.
“Len hit the ground running,” Dukes wrote. “His experience in the private sector, in addition to his government work experience, has already shown to be beneficial.”
Commissioner Diane Rowden gave out the second highest grades and offered a single comment: “Communications skills are excellent.”