Thursday, October 23, 2014

Harris: Search for successor to get underway

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 5/30/2014

With the ensuing absence of outgoing County Administrator Lisa Johnson, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners is starting a search for her successor, Steve Harris, board chair, said.

Johnson plans to leave her position at the end of June to take a position at Ottawa University as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs.

With the ensuing absence of outgoing County Administrator Lisa Johnson, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners is starting a search for her successor, Steve Harris, board chair, said.

Johnson plans to leave her position at the end of June to take a position at Ottawa University as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs.

The county will find a successor by searching for candidates through the Kansas Association of Commissions, which is standard procedure, Harris said. He said the county most likely will hire an interim administrator while a transition committee searches and trains a new employee.

“Just like any other job [the county] will wind up doing a talent search to solicit a list of applicants,” Harris said. “Then you go through the process of interviewing the person and determining their qualifications.

“We’ll go through the Kansas Association of Commissions, which we’re a member of, and look to have an interim for a period of time,” he said.

The addition of a interim administrator won’t be much different than the procedure Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, used to find Matthew Heyn to succeed retired Ransom CEO Larry Felix, Harris said. He said he hopes Johnson will help with the transition committee as she joins Ottawa University in July.

“We’ll formulate a transition team, which we’re putting plans in place already to have a group of folks to help with the selection of a new administrator,” Harris said. “We’ve actually asked [Johnson] to be a member of that committee. Ransom Memorial Hospital just did the same thing to find a new hospital administrator — we can utilize their expertise.”

With Johnson serving as county administrator for several years and as a presence in the county for more than a decade, Harris said the familiarity will be an issue the committee will want to focus on. He said he would like to hire someone who has an understanding of the county and has experience as an administrator.

“Since [Johnson] has been in the job over the past several years, there has been more administrator-type educations going on,” Harris said. “We really do want to focus on someone who has city or county administrator experience in Kansas.”

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