WAXAHACHIE

Ellis County is making a comeback in its communication strategy.

Erik Test, the chief of staff for Ellis County Judge Todd Little, stated that the communications budget was cut when the commissioners’ court passed the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget in August last year. For the upcoming fiscal year, Little wants to make steps towards lessening that gap. One of the ways he aims to do that is by hiring a communications coordinator for the county.

On the commissioners’ court meeting Tuesday at the Ellis County Courthouse, the commissioners approved an amendment to shift $24,980 from the staffing budget to the deputies, social security and retirement budget. Test said this salary would be for a part-time employee to focus on county communications.

“This is to hire someone from April 1st through Sept. 30 for communications,” Test remarked.

Test stated that the motion for approval would be for the salary only – not the hiring of the position itself.

Little stated that the employee’s responsibilities would include upgrading the county website and managing the county’s social media accounts. The employee would also maintain the technology in the commissioners’ court as well.

“This person would directly coordinate with the IT department, also the fire marshal and the EMS coordinator as it would relate to public notices,” Little explained. “This person would serve as the public information officer for the county. We’re doing it on a half-year basis as we have next year to bring it into the budget for a full position.”

Little remarked that with how rapidly technology is changing, the county needs someone to keep up with the changes in the digital era.

“People are changing the way they see things – the way they listen and learn," Little remarked. "As it relates to road closures, Twitter feeds, Facebook, social media feeds – this is a person that is in the promotional, marketing and communications of now.”

Precinct 2 commissioner Lane Grayson supported the measure, stating that communication needs to be in the county’s focus in the coming year.

“That’s a very important position that we’d like to cater to very quickly,” Grayson said.

Grayson motioned for approval of the amendment, with Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Perry seconding it. The court unanimously approved the measure.

Test said a communications coordinator would be hired sometime in the summer.