Sowell earns administrator’s certification

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Covington County Commission recently recognized Administrator Karen Sowell, for becoming a certified county administrator.

Sowell’s decision to get certified began when she was employed as the chief clerk of the probate judge’s office.

“While I was employed as Chief Clerk of the Probate Judge’s Office we had a presentation during one of our conferences about the courses offered by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama and the County Government Education Institute,” Sowell said. “It had previously only been offered to individuals working in commission offices to attend, so I was excited to have the opportunity to improve my knowledge of the functions of county government and to in turn, be able to perform better in my position. Once I began taking the classes I realized how valuable the information was to my day to day life and I wanted to learn as much as possible.”

Sowell’s road to becoming a CCA was not easy and lasted almost eight years.

“I began taking courses in October 2010, and had completed all but one course for the Certificate in County Administration before being hired as the County Administrator in January 2015,” Sowell said. “This year, I completed the final requirement of three years’ experience as County Administrator in order to receive the CCA designation.”

Sowell had to have three years experience, complete all of the educational requirements, submit an application for the CCA designation, a resolution from the county administrators current employer, and take 48 hours of basic level courses in overview of county government, ethics of county officials and employees, personnel administration and finance and revenue. She also had to take 60 hours of certification-level classes in conflict management, general management and supervision, disaster preparedness and response, general accounting, communication and media relations and legislative and governmental relations.

Sowell hopes to use the certification and the knowledge from the courses to better serve Covington County.

“The certification represents the knowledge I received from my training,” Sowell said. “The exposure to the various subject matters covered and the resources gained from the training provides me with a greater foundation in which to grow.”

Sowell said that the best part of being county administrator is being able to help the people she works with.

“The best part about my job is being able to help someone,” Sowell said. “While working in the probate office, I was there to assist the public. In the commission office we do not get to interact with the public as often, as such, I strive to be of assistance to the chairman and commissioners, elected officials, department heads and our county employees.”

Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White commended Sowell on her achievements.

“Not all administrators do this,” White said. “She has definitely learned a lot from all of the courses and works hard for us.”

Commissioner Kenneth Northey also complimented Sowell’s hard work as administrator.

“We really appreciate the hard work that she does,” Northey said. “She keeps us out of a whole lot of trouble and keeps us straight.”

Sowell said that she could not have done the certification without the help of her fellow coworkers.

“I would like to thank Chairman Greg White and Commissioners, Kenneth Northey, Joe Barton, Tony Holmes, Kyle Adams, our former Probate Judge, Circuit Judge Ben Bowden, former Chairman Bill Godwin, and former Commissioner Harold Elmore,” Sowell said. “For allowing me to take time away from the office to attend these training courses that have allowed me to achieve this designation.”