Ashland County Commissioner Jim Justice, Ashland County business administrator Erin Collins and Ashland County maintenance supervisor Dennis Harris pose for a picture near the newly renovated pedestrian bridge in November 2019.

ASHLAND — Ashland County commissioners accepted the resignation of the office’s business administrator on Monday.

The last day for Erin Collins will be effective Jan. 14. She was hired in 2019.

Commissioners Denny Bittle and Michael Welch said Collins helped the office navigate through federal stimulus money that made its way into Ashland County as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Erin Collins

There were two large stimulus bills passed during Collins’ short tenure — the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Combined, the money will amount to more than $13 million meant to be used in Ashland County.

The county’s allocated money from CARES Act, $3.2 million, was disbursed in four payments in 2020 and was required to be spent by the end of the year. 

The county then received its first half of the American Rescue Plan Act money, $5.1 million, in June. The second half is due in around five months. That money will need to be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026. 

“There was so much learning to go along with that and we thank her — a lot,” Welch said. Bittle added the commissioners’ office “got a little lucky” when they hired her because of the excellent job she did.

“She will be missed,” Bittle said, adding that Collins was moving south to warmer weather.

Nikki Hiller, who just took over as the office’s clerk, said Collins was an important asset and that everyone in the office will miss her. 

He said Collins’ job will be advertised immediately.

Commissioner Jim Justice said it remains to be seen if a carbon copy of her position will be filled or if the position will look differently, perhaps more of a consulting responsibility.

“I think we need to look at every option,” Justice said.

The county commissioners also reorganized during the Monday meeting, meaning Commissioner Jim Justice will now serve as president of the board and Welch will serve as vice president.

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