Public admin: Supervising needs of 150-plus clients
Candidates detail organization, time management techniques
The role of the Barry County Public Administrator is one that can be demanding and challenging, and it requires the public's trust.
The individual elected to fill the role of county public administrator will be responsible for a number of day-to-day duties, including administrative, clerical and reception. County public administrators must be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond to any issues that may arise with a client. The official is also responsible for keeping in contact with hospitals, health-care facilities, hospices, law offices and other agencies on behalf of clients.
Candidates vying for the position, to be decided by voters in the Aug. 2 election, include Andy Reavis, R-Cassville, the chief operating officer with Billings Mutual Insurance Company; Rodney Hughes, R-Cassville, a customer care specialist at Fasco Industries; and Keith Daniels, R-Exeter, a retired healthcare finance executive.
Each candidate shares his thoughts on how to assist the approximate 158 clients currently served by the office.
Daniels believes familiarizing himself with the case histories of each client will assist him in attending to their future needs.
"It will be my goal to introduce myself to all of the current clients and ask if they have any questions or requests of me or the public administrator's office," Daniels said. "I feel pretty certain the clients will be somewhat uneasy about the change to a new public administrator, and it will be my goal to establish a good relationship with each and every one of them and to reassure them throughout the transition. It's my opinion that establishing clear lines of communication with the clients will be crucial in gaining their trust."
Daniels knows the learning curve will not necessarily be a quick one.
"After the initial introductory period is completed, I think it will be extremely important to make sure there is a good working schedule in place to monitor each client's plan of care with their health care provider," he said. "The State of Missouri requires the public administrator to regularly review the health status of every client and ensure the appropriate level of care is being maintained by the health care provider. My healthcare background will better enable me to review the medical records and to ask relevant questions of the nurses and physicians who are providing care to these clients.
"I think it will also be important to have a schedule of important administrative tasks in place such as bank reconciliations, bill payments and any necessary reporting to either the Probate Court or the State of Missouri."
Daniels said he is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to the clients served by the public administrator's office.
"If I'm elected to this position, I will be very much a 'hands-on' public administrator who is fully capable and able to do anything in the office that needs to be done to ensure the very highest level of customer service is being provided to our clients," Daniels said. "I strongly believe a good leader, in any business, best leads by example and never asks their staff to do anything he or she is not willing do.
"Above all, I will make myself and the office as fully accessible to the public as possible. I want the citizens of Barry County to know the high level of customer service they're grown to appreciate with the current public administrator will be continued into the future."
Reavis said he would job shadow the current administrator, Pam Modlin, to learn her technique in managing the heavy caseload until he had a firm grasp on his responsibilities to, and the needs of, his clients.
"[The first priority] is getting to know each individual client personally and learning what their specific needs are," Reavis said. "Their history is another area where I would rely on Pam until I have met each client and reviewed their file.
"Organization and time management are key to handling that number of clients. Any area the administrator can exercise control over, especially the daily routine work, has to be managed with utmost efficiency. Having an assistant to help manage the calendar, set appointments and answer routine calls is also critical for time management."
Reavis said all of this has to be in place to allow time to deal with the disasters that are sure to happen.
"Overall, the game plan would be to reduce the learning curve as much as possible and immediately start thinking how the office can improve," he said.
Hughes is also looking at time management to oversee the office caseload.
"The current administrator now manages the number of clients in the county," Hughes said. "If elected, the time spent with her can be valuable. Learning from her and finding what works or does not work would be necessary before making changes or decisions about how to better serve whatever the number of clients.
"Managing time efficiently and using that time to best serve clients needs will be most important."