Jefferson selects new administrator

August 03, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

Jefferson selects new administrator

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Planning Director Paul Raco was named Thursday night to a new administrative position that will have him overseeing more operations in the county planning commission and help prepare the county for future growth.

His salary will increase from $61,480 to $65,000, according to the Jefferson County Commissioners, who approved Raco's hiring on a 4-1 vote.

Commissioner Edgar Ridgeway voted against Raco's hiring, saying there was someone else that stood out from the other candidates for the job.

Ridgeway did not elaborate on who the other candidate was.

Commissioner James K. Ruland acknowledged that the commissioners "were not of the same thoughts all the time," but he felt Raco was the person for the job.


About 20 people applied for the job and the commissioners interviewed candidates for the job. The field was narrowed to six candidates and finally trimmed down to three, said Commissioner Al Hooper.

The candidates included County Engineer John Laughland, county residents and people from Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee, said Commission President James G. Knode.

Administrator Leslie Smith did not sit in on the interviews until the field was narrowed to three, Hooper said.

Thursday night, Smith handed the commissioners a written recommendation suggesting Raco be named to the new position.

Among the requirements for the job was that the candidate have a master's degree in planning or an equivalent, Hooper said. Although Hooper said he was not certain of Raco's education, he said Raco has a bachelor's degree in planning.

Hooper said he supported Raco for the job because he has experienced a lot of the growth challenges that have faced the county.

"He's been in every battle. He knows the county," Hooper said.

Raco, who was not at the meeting, has been director of planning for about 12 years.

The new position is part of a restructuring county officials want to see in the planning commission.

Rapidly growing Loudoun County, Va., which borders Jefferson County, has about 150 employees in its planning department while Jefferson County only has a staff of four, according to Hooper.

Raco, who now oversees the planning department, will also oversee the engineering department and possibly a building code and safety ordinance section.

Now a person will have to be hired for Raco's planning job, the commissioners said.

Much of the restructuring of the department will be left up to Raco, the commissioners said. To allow for the restructuring, the commissioners increased the planning commission's budget from $170,181 to $538,665.

Depending on how the department is restructured, a second engineer could be hired, more secretaries could be hired and purchasing of support equipment such as another car, Smith said.

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