MOUNT VERNON — Overall administrative powers in county government rest with a three-member board of county commissioners. In Knox County, the board of commissioners is comprised of Teresa Bemiller, Roger Reed and Allen Stockberger.
They are the county’s taxing, budgeting and purchasing authority and almost every county office relies on the commissioners for appropriations. They also approve most county expenditures, managing a general fund of $12.9 million.
The commissioners appoint and have authority over county department heads, including, but not limited to, animal control, wastewater, Job & Family Services, maintenance, safety, loss control and human resources. They do not have jurisdiction over the county treasurer’s or county engineer’s office. Although they work with the fair board, the commissioners do not have authority over that board.
The county budget is public record, and constituents may ask to review those records as well as minutes from the public meetings. Stockberger said the commissioners are happy to discuss the records and answer any questions someone may have concerning records he or she reviewed.
The commissioners are also responsible for dealing with many issues: Water and sewer, drainage and ditches, solid waste management, aviation, transportation, domestic violence shelters, public health, parks and recreation, annexations and tourism, to name a few.
Compensation for county commissioners is based on population, and is established by the state Legislature. Their current annual salary is $55,524.
While the commissioners hold open public meetings two days a week to formally conduct county business, throughout the week, they deal with constituents, serve on various county boards and committees, and are involved in myriad other meetings and events, including evening and weekend obligations. Bemiller, for example, attended 17 additional functions in January and Reed went to 14 “extra” gatherings.