Friday, October 31, 2014

County official leaves for OU

5/28/2014

After several years serving the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Lisa Johnson will find a new home down the street.

The Franklin County Commission and Ottawa University announced Johnson resigned from serving as county administrator and accepted a position as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs at OU, effective July 1. Johnson will fill a position left vacant by Donna Levene, who retired from a similar role in April.

After several years serving the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Lisa Johnson will find a new home down the street.

The Franklin County Commission and Ottawa University announced Johnson resigned from serving as county administrator and accepted a position as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs at OU, effective July 1. Johnson will fill a position left vacant by Donna Levene, who retired from a similar role in April.

Kevin Eichner, Ottawa University president, said the university is thrilled to add Johnson to the staff.

“We are thrilled to be able to attract someone of Lisa’s stature, experience, and background to assist us in the critical areas of governmental, regulatory, legal, and community affairs,” Eichner said. “Each of these arenas increasingly affects the ongoing life of Ottawa University, and it is imperative that we have a highly competent, thoughtful and pragmatic individual whose skills and knowledge are augmented by strong personal values and a down-to-earth, ‘let’s get it done’ approach to her work. I have no doubt that Lisa will make major contributions to our university in these roles while also deepening our interaction with and understanding of our unique role in the community, especially here in Ottawa where she will be encouraged to further develop her engagement and contacts.”

Johnson received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1995, graduating cum laude in English and political science. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota in 1999 and her Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 2008. She has recently taught as an adjunct professor in OU’s Angell Snyder School of Business and has served on the university’s President’s Council since 2012. She and her husband, Pete, have two children — Gabriel, 5, and Abigail, 4 — and reside in Ottawa.

“I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to Ottawa University and to becoming part of this vibrant and diverse organization,” Johnson said. “My family and I are excited for this new opportunity.”

Johnson has worked for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners since 2001 as assistant county attorney until 2005. She then worked as county counselor in 2006 and county administrator since November 2007. Franklin County adopted the administrator form of government in 2006.

Steve Harris, Franklin County Commission chairman, said Johnson’s tenure was responsible for several large projects. He said the commission will miss her and wish her luck.

“Ms. Johnson has been instrumental in the transition to the administrator form of government in Franklin County,” Harris said. “She is responsible for the success of numerous projects including the juvenile justice facility, the HVAC project at our historical courthouse, and the criminal justice center project to name just a few. Ms. Johnson’s talents, abilities, and leadership will be greatly missed and we wish her great success and happiness in her new position.”

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