Butler County is evaluating possible candidates for its county administrator position before moving to a public posting, and commissioners are hopeful the process will proceed more smoothly than the last administrator search.
Charlie Young announced he will be retiring from the administrator position at the end of the year, leaving government after decades of service and returning to his roots in the engineering field. The commissioners are expected to name Development Director David Fehr acting administrator.
“We’re evaluating possible candidates before we would go to a posting,” said Commissioner T.C. Rogers.
The commissioners hired for an assistant administrator position a year ago and received 233 applications.
Human Resources Director Laurie Murphy said the county will likely do a regional search for a new administrator but will also take internal applications.
“We may try to post in more places than our ordinary website posting,” she said. “We usually reach out to LinkedIn, the CCAO (County Commissioners Association of Ohio), they do postings on their website, in addition to the traditional posting. We will probably open the posting for longer than usual, most of the time we just post for 10 days.”
She said her department will likely screen the applications — the majority of the applications for the assistant position were not qualified — and select the best for the commissioners to interview.
“That’s kind of our task here in HR is to weed out those people right off the bat that are not even qualified,” she said, “that don’t even meet the minimum qualifications.”
It took a year for the commissioners to settle on Young in 2012, but the makeup of the commissioners group was different at that time. .
“It is a completely different board make-up, we are in a completely different place,” said Commissioner Cindy Carpenter. “Six years ago many, many things were not functioning to the standard we wanted, so it was confusing to select a candidate that had all of those skills… We always found something negative about each candidate we interviewed.”
She said they have new directors and systems in place that should be easier to fill the job this time.
“I think you’ll be surprised and we’ll find somebody rather quickly,” she told the Journal-News.
While the board was last searching for an administrator, Mike Campbell was the acting administrator. After he was let go as Executive Director of the port authority in 2014 he told the Journal-News he couldn’t focus on that job while he was also managing the entire county.
Commissioner Don Dixon said that won’t happen this time. He said Fehr is the “logical choice” to run the county in the interim .
“Everyone in all those divisions now, the department heads are more than capable of handling it,” he said. “It’s just for a short time anyway, it’s not going to be months, hopefully.”