County makes it official in hiring Jack Welch as CAO

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jack Welch smiles during today’s Orleans County Legislature meeting. He was named the county’s chief administrative officer. He has been the county’s director of personnel and self-insurance since 2004. He laughed when one of the legislators insisted he upgrade from a flip-phone.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2020 at 10:01 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature this afternoon appointed Jack Welch as the county government’s chief administrative officer, approving a five-year contract.

Welch has worked for the county since 2004 as the director of personnel and self-insurance. As chief administrative officer, he also will fulfill the roles of the county’s budget officer and risk management coordinator.

The county hasn’t had a full-time CAO since December when Chuck Nesbitt left the job for the private sector. Nesbitt served in the role for 14 ½ years. He had high praise for Welch, who has been a key department head for the county and was involved in the recent $11 million addition to the County Administration Building.

“He’s very sound with numbers and employee issues,” Nesbitt said in a message about Welch.

“He’s had exposure to a lot of the issues and he was one of my main sounding boards over the years. Jack is a smart, competent, experienced public servant who brings a great work ethic to everything he does. I have tremendous confidence in Jack’s ability to navigate the complex challenges ahead. I wish him much success.”

Lynne Johnson, the County Legislature chairwoman, praised Welch for helping lead the county workforce after a state of emergency was declared due to the coronavirus.

“I just want to say in unprecedented times you have risen to the occasion,” Johnson told Welch.

His appointment was unanimous by the seven legislators.

As chief administrative officer, Welch will lead a county government with a $71 million budget, and 415 employees in 24 departments.

The job description posted by the county for the CAO lists key responsibilities for the job as preparation of the county budget, developing long-range capital improvement budgets, purchasing oversight, labor relations management, property control and risk management, intergovernmental relations and legislative advocacy, public information officer duties, and general oversight of departments and the coordination and administration of county government functions and activities.

County legislators praised Johnson, the Legislature chairwoman, for putting in a lot of extra time the past three months, functioning as an interim CAO.

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