Friday, July 25, 2014

County forming search groups to tackle filling vacant positions

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/14/2014

With a few weeks under Don Moler’s belt as interim county administrator and counselor, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners began working on the next step in finding a permanent successor to Lisa Johnson after the positions were left vacant at the beginning of July. Johnson announced her resignation as administrator and counselor May 28 to accept a position at Ottawa University as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs. Her resignation goes into effect at the end of June.

The board began Monday during a study session by forming two committees to help sift through the applications for the two positions with Commission Chair Steve Harris leading the discussion. The board received 11 applications for the administrator position and six for the counselor position, Gayla Wilkins, human resources director, said. Applications will be accepted for about three more weeks, she said.

With a few weeks under Don Moler’s belt as interim county administrator and counselor, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners began working on the next step in finding a permanent successor to Lisa Johnson after the positions were left vacant at the beginning of July. Johnson announced her resignation as administrator and counselor May 28 to accept a position at Ottawa University as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs. Her resignation goes into effect at the end of June.

The board began Monday during a study session by forming two committees to help sift through the applications for the two positions with Commission Chair Steve Harris leading the discussion. The board received 11 applications for the administrator position and six for the counselor position, Gayla Wilkins, human resources director, said. Applications will be accepted for about three more weeks, she said.

Harris, who has experience in human resources, suggested creating a pre-screening committee consisted of himself, Wilkins, Don Moler and a department director, while Colton Waymire, commissioner, suggested adding a administration employee. The pre-screening committee would be charged with sifting through the applications and suggesting possible candidates for a hiring committee to interview and choose a successor for both positions.

“I personally — although I used to do this all the time and I know it’s an arduous task — don’t think the [full] board needs to go through every one of this applicants,” Harris said. “We want to depend on [the] folks that are equipped and educated to do it and get it down to the top three candidates and then it goes to whatever committee formulate to do the hiring.”

Harris also suggested forming a hiring committee consisting of the entire board, Moler, and possibly former administrator Johnson, who already has begun working in her new role at OU. Johnson said previously that she had not yet been approached by the board, but would be willing to help.

Of the applications for administrator, eight are from Kansas, two from Missouri and one is from Texas, Wilkins said. The board has the ability to expand the search area to surrounding states to find even more applicants if it finds the current applicants are best suited for the position, she said. As for the counselor position, all applicants are from Kansas, Wilkins said, most likely because the counselor position requires Kansas certification.

Harris and Wilkins agreed to convene the pre-screening committee by July 21 or 22.

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