County moves forward on administrator plans
After years of debate and two unsuccessful ballot initiatives in 1998 and 2002 Leavenworth County will advertise for a county administrator.
The position, created by resolution and not by public vote, is being advertised as "the administrative officer for the county," responsible for preparing and presenting an annual budget, coordinating the administrative operations of the departments, reviewing contracts and assuming administrative responsibility in areas designated by the county.
Minimum qualifications for the position include a master's degree in business or public administration with five or more years of experience in local government.
With the job description in place, all that remained to be determined Tuesday was the administrator's salary and how to advertise for the position.
In September, Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson estimated offering between $75,000 and $80,000 annually to fill the job, but he said that figure would still need to be determined.
On Tuesday, county resident Al Stevens, who has been a vocal opponent of hiring a county administrator, requested the board consider setting an upper pay limit of $80,000, with $50,000 as an initial negotiating figure.
Asked why he recommended $50,000, Stevens said the low figure was "to stymie the notion of having an administrator."
Human Resources Director Diane Collins countered that, based on the regulations and qualifications for the position, the administrator's salary "needs to be in excess of $100,000."
County Counselor-at-Large Keyta Kelly said she thought it would be a shame if an underqualified person were hired because of a noncompetitive salary.
"I'd hate to see this fail right off the bat," she said.
Second District Commissioner Clyde Graeber commented that if the administrator is to oversee and work with all personnel, he or she should at least receive an equivalent salary to the director of public works, which is $81,549.
Graeber added that if the number and quality of applicants is deemed to be insufficient, commissioners could adjust that amount at a later date.
Asked for his comment, Commissioner Dean Oroke said, "I think we're going to get what we pay for."
Ultimately the board voted, 3-0, to advertise for the county administrator at a pay range of $81,549 to $91,549, with a report on the number of applicants expected by Dec. 15.
All three commissioners have previously said they would like to have an administrator in place by May 2008, in time for next year's budget process.
In other business Tuesday, the board:
¢ Met in three executive sessions totaling 20 minutes to discuss personnel, pending and potential litigation.