On Sept. 26 of this year, former Montgomery County Sheriff Mark Casteel accepted a new job as Montgomery County Administrator. The position is a new one and the goal of creating it was to have someone on board to help the commissioners handle the day-to-day business of the county such as budget, and supervising department heads. He’s been hard at work for a few weeks now and I thought it would be a good time to sit down with him and see how he likes his new job.
FREY: This is a brand-new position. What are you most excited about achieving?
CASTEEL: I’m most excited about the possibilities this position brings with it. Historically the commissioners have been tasked with conducting all of their normal business and managing the day to day operations of the county as part-time employees of the county. All three of the commissioners have full-time jobs outside of their elected positions. It is obvious to me this is an unreasonable expectation. This position will allow the commissioners to focus more on the issues facing our county (past/present/future) while I focus more on the day to day operations. I feel this will make the commissioner’s office more efficient moving forward.
FREY: What are your top priorities? Any specific areas of concern?
CASTEEL: The commissioners have made it clear that our highway department and our county roads are their top priority. I have initiated meetings with and am working closely with the highway department to ensure we are getting the most out of our current and future funding in combination with the most effective use of man hours. This is a work in progress, and I have confidence in the men and women of the highway department.
FREY: You were sheriff for eight years. How do you think that experience will help you succeed in this position?
CASTEEL: Being sheriff for eight years has given me direct, intimate knowledge of all county government processes to include things such as budgeting. I also already have great relationships with all county department heads and elected officials including the county council and the commissioners. This will be very beneficial as we move forward.
FREY: You have served the public for years, so you must enjoy it. What is fulfilling about it for you?
CASTEEL: I enjoy being a public servant because it is extremely challenging, and I enjoy a great challenge. We live in a community where the majority still appreciate your efforts and I want to maintain this faith, trust and appreciation through hard work and dedication to the community.
FREY: Tell me about your day-to-day activities.
CASTEEL: Currently I’m continuing to familiarize myself with the many roles of the commissioner’s office and county government which I did not have direct involvement as sheriff. The county administrator position will evolve over time as we all learn the most efficient use of my time and skills. I have no doubt that what I’m doing today will look totally different by this time next year. I have and will continue to be assigned specific duties by the commissioners.
FREY: Why this job? Why now?
CASTEEL: This job requires many of the things I enjoyed most about my previous position. I really enjoy working alongside our locally elected officials and felt as though I still had something of value to offer to this community. Why now? The creation of this position could not have come at a better time. I retired from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in May. I’m not ready to actually retire so when the job was announced I jumped at the opportunity. I’m extremely grateful to the Montgomery County Commissioners and Montgomery County Council for placing their faith and trust in me once again. I’m really looking forward to what we can accomplish together.
FREY: And we are happy to have you on board. Thanks Mark, for taking time with me and telling me about your work so we could share it. As you know, we created this article in an effort to communicate the latest news, progress and happenings with our fellow citizens. Communication is so important, and we have a lot of great things to discuss. I look forward to talking with you again in a few months.
John Frey is a Montgomery County Commissioner and can be reached at email@example.com. And check out the Commish Facebook page @montgomerycountycommish.