Management in Action: Ryan Adkison, Assistant County Administrator for Butler County


What does city/county management mean to you?

City/County management is primarily about being faithful stewards of citizen’s money to deliver the public goods and services they need to live and thrive. Additionally, it about anticipating issues that will need addressed in a manner that promotes community unity.

What does a successful improvement or project look like?

Improvement projects must have good fundamentals which would include the planning, designing, constructing, and financing aspects. Perhaps even more elusive to manage is the public perception side, which includes being in touch with the community needs by receiving input from them and communicating out to them the logic of the fundamentals.

What is one improvement (operational, policy or physical) that you are most proud of?

Staffing a direct supervision jail is challenging, especially in today’s environment. Our jail suffered from high turnover along with difficulty attracting applicants. I was part of a team that work with Jail staff to develop several innovative programs to help alleviate this issue. Now, turnover is down, and we get to choose the best applicant rather then the only applicant, both of which has led to very low vacancy rates and much higher moral.

If you could share one piece of career related wisdom to a colleague, what would it be? 

There is a Proverbs that says: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I have seen many organizations/departments/teams full of competent people perform very low due to the headwind of personality conflict or different of opinion (especially in a pandemic). Mastering the ability to return a soft answer for a harsh word not only makes entities more productive, but adds years to your life and life to your years by reducing your stress.