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Commissioners seeking take-charge administrator

September 27, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Commissioners' ideas of what they would like in the next county administrator vary.

But there is one common thread.

They would to like to see someone who will keep a strong watch over the county's finances take charge of the county's operations.

"Somebody who won't hesitate to tell the commissioners that we shouldn't be spending for this or for that and who wants to try to get the debt paid off," Commissioner John C. Munson said.

Munson said the county's total debt is $162.5 million.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Commissioner James F. Kercheval also said a strong record on fiscal management was an important qualification for the job.

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While the current board of commissioners will start the job search, the next board will interview candidates after it takes office in early December and hire the next administrator. The pay range for the job will be $81,567 to $130,507.

It's the first time in 12 years the county has been looking for a county administrator.

Current County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop announced his retirement last week.

He plans to stay until after his replacement is hired, which the county anticipates to be in mid-January.

The commissioners are conducting a national search to replace Shoop.

Snook, however, said while the next board will probably interview a lot of candidates, it's likely the new commissioners will be able to find a qualified candidate from this region.

"I would say that the new board will interview a lot of people and look here regionally," Snook said.

Munson said he would like the candidate to have worked for a smaller government.

Snook said the ideal candidate would be able to work with many people and carry out multiple tasks at the same time.

"He's going to be able to have to handle pressure because of the responsibilities of running a $300 million business," Snook said.

Kercheval said the next county administrator will need a broad knowledge of government, good analytical, management, financial and communication skills, and strong experience working with budgets.

Some candidates are likely to be in-house and, therefore, already familiar with the way the county works, Kercheval said.

"Knowledge of the county is certainly a plus for anybody," he said.

Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said she hopes a woman is considered for the position, but ultimately, the new board should select the most qualified candidate.

That person, she said, should have management expertise in the public or private sector; be able to work with other government boards, state lawmakers, the business community and residents; and be able to plan long-term for the county.

"I certainly hope it's someone that has a vision for the county and can look out 10 to 20 years," Nipps said.

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