Interim Delaware County administrator Debbie Martin is happy that Thanksgiving is here, and happy that newly named county administrator Tim Hansley is here, too.

Interim Delaware County administrator Debbie Martin is happy that Thanksgiving is here, and happy that newly named county administrator Tim Hansley is here, too.

It means she can visit family in North Carolina for Thanksgiving, then head to Florida for the winter - with a brief central Ohio stop so her spouse, attorney Stephen Martin, can attend a certain football game.

"We have to drive back home so somebody can go to the Michigan game," Martin said.

For eight boom years during which Delaware County experienced high growth, Martin was a county commissioner. Since then, her business activities have been limited to real estate investment with her husband, and serving on a number of organizational boards as a volunteer.

In May, however, she was called back to fill in temporarily as county administrator, after the current commissioners ousted Dave Cannon on a 2-1 vote.

"Any organization has to deal with turnover, and it's not always planned turnover," Martin said. "It was not all that difficult for me to come in, because of my background, having been a commissioner. I knew almost all of the employees from being here before, I knew the office-holders, I knew what the departments did and what their responsibilities are. I was able to walk in and just do some catching up."

Martin said having been a commissioner made it easy to understand her responsibilities.

"By far, for this job it was my experience as a commissioner that made it easiest to move in and do the job," Martin said. "The hardest part was, I didn't get to vote. Most people know I have an opinion on everything and I want to vote. But I knew I couldn't. That part was different. It's a different hat. Most people are adaptable, I think. I certainly had to recognize that I was advising, not deciding."

The dominant difference between her time as commissioner and today is that before there were financial boom times, while today Martin expects government expenses to be pushed down from the state level to the county level.

"We had sales tax money coming in, interest money coming in, and we were able to do things for the taxpayers and the residents," Martin said. "The Hayes Building was built when I was commissioner, for example. We were able to meet the needs of the office-holders and departments, we were able to put money away for a rainy day. Those days are over. Our biggest problem is that the county level and the state are in the same trouble, so the state will pass costs on down" to counties.

The county's experience with adult protective services might be a preview of the future.

The Ohio General Assembly ordered the counties to adopt programs to protect older adults from abuse, but provided no money to accomplish the programs.

"There was a legislative mandate for the county to do adult protective services, but no money followed the mandate," Martin said. "We felt the best way to do this was a contract with the Council of Older Adults, which we did for maybe half a dozen years. We don't have it anymore. We can't afford it. We don't have the dollars and the state never provided the dollars. Yes, we're still responsible, but we don't have the program we would like to have."

During her stint as administrator, Martin kept in mind she was in the job only temporarily.

"There were things I chose not to address because I knew a new administrator might think differently," Martin said. "When I came in, the staff was in the middle of a policy review. I told them to go ahead and finish the review, but that for the most part I would not change any policies. It made no sense for me to change it when a new administrator would come in three months later."

As much as she looks forward to its ending, Martin is happy to have had her government affairs reprise.

"Without sounding hokey, this is my home," Martin said. "We make our living in the city. We live in the county. I love this place. It's our home."