Is Lincoln County Oregon Government a Midsize Business…

by | Jan 9, 2022

As I run for Lincoln County Commissioner, it will be with love and kindness in my heart and soul. I love this community as much as most of you do.

We start a conversation today about what I believe is concerning in the way we run the business of our great County.

“The center defines a mid-size company as one with average annual revenue – not profit, but revenue – of between $10 million and $1 billion. As of 2018, the center estimated that about 200,000 U.S. companies met that definition, making them mid-size companies.”

The budget

With a budget of over $120 million, I’d say Lincoln County is a midsize business. Wouldn’t you?

I would also say with love, kindness, and a cringe-inducing feeling in my back, it’s a shock for a rural County anywhere in America to think about this on a Sunday morning while watching the Raiders ‘n Chargers play…

Cost per employee analysis…

With 500 employees or so, in Lincoln County Oregon, the cost per employee works out at around $240,000 per employee. Wow! Now, my whole body is shaking.

let’s take a self care break, and get back to this later. I’ll try and help us have a conversation about this important and most concerning topic.

Typical leadership structure of a midsize public private sector business model

Understanding the Basics of Corporate Structure

Board of Directors

“Elected by the shareholders, the board of directors is made up of two types of representatives. The first type involves inside directors chosen from within the company. This can be a CEO, CFO, manager, or any other person who works for the company daily.”


Technically the leader of the corporation, the board chair is responsible for running the board smoothly and effectively. Their duties typically include maintaining strong communication with the chief executive officer and high-level executives, formulating the company’s business strategy, representing management and the board to the general public and shareholders, and maintaining corporate integrity. The chair is elected from the board of directors.

Management Team

As the other tier of the company, the management team is directly responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and profitability.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO): 

As the top manager, the CEO is typically responsible for the corporation’s entire operations and reports directly to the chair and the board of directors. It is the CEO’s responsibility to implement board decisions and initiatives, as well as to maintain the smooth operation of the firm with senior management’s assistance.

Often, the CEO will also be designated as the company’s president and therefore be one of the inside directors on the board (if not the chair). However, it is highly suggested that a company’s CEO should not also be the company’s chair to ensure the chair’s independence and clear lines of authority.

Chief Operations Officer

(COO): Responsible for the corporation’s operations, the COO looks after issues related to marketing, sales, production, and personnel. Often more hands-on than the CEO, the COO looks after day-to-day activities while providing feedback to the CEO. The COO is often referred to as a senior vice president.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO): 

Also reporting directly to the CEO, the CFO is responsible for analyzing and reviewing financial data, reporting financial performance, preparing budgets, and monitoring expenditures and costs.

The CFO is required to present this information to the board of directors at regular intervals and provide it to shareholders and regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Also usually referred to as a senior vice president, the CFO routinely checks the corporation’s financial health and integrity.

Lincoln County Oregon Corporate Structure

Commissioner Katy Jacobson

Commissioner Doug Hunt

Commissioner Claire Hall

Summary & Thoughts…

I love our Lincoln County Commissioners. They are dear friends and colleagues. I have also supported and voted for each of them, and will continue to do so.

I’ve worked with them as battle buddies fighting for us on the ground 24/7. There is rarely a self care break. Believe me, when I say that.

I believe as a highly experienced business leader and executive that we, as a community, make the job of the Board of Commissioners much much harder. Believe me when I say that too!

The bottom line? What do we get for $240k/year per employee? How can we show value? What can we do as a community to manage the budget more effectively. And, most importantly, how to we help Katy, Claire & Doug be more effective as leaders?

As Lincoln County Commissioner, I intend to help our County build a 21st Century business model to make the job of the BOC more efficient and effective.

The Good news!

Here’s the good news. If you take the estimated costs of employee benefits out of the budget, the real cost per employee is about $170,000/year.

Let’s start there. Also, leave wages out. We can get back to that later, if it’s even relevant. I’d vote NO to that, anyway!

Let’s get to work folks…

I like bottom line conversation. Maybe there is something we can do, maybe not. I will not predict that here.

We can start the conversation now. I don’t want to wait until January 2023. Do you?

Steve & Judy Sparks Children and Families in Life After Trauma (CFLAT)

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
View all posts by stevesparks →

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