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BoCC selects new administrator

Staff Writer

After three months of having Larry Augsbury, finance director, and Todd Starr, county attorney, serving as co-interim county administrators, the county is expected to fill the vacancy on a permanent basis beginning Jan. 15.

On that date, should contract negotiations conclude successfully, Bentley Henderson is expected to assume the role as the administrative head of the county.

Commissioner Clifford Lucero, who has been involved in contract negotiations, said Monday there is one outstanding issue (vacation time) to discuss with Henderson before the contract is finalized.

Lucero said the contract is for $104,000 per year.

The position has been vacant since Oct. 15, and has not been held for more than six months in a permanent capacity since the departure of Greg Schulte in November 2012.

Following Schulte’s departure, the county conducted two failed searches for the position before agreeing with a finalist from the first search — Jesse Smith — to take the post for six months.

With the end of Smith’s six-month run nearing, the county conducted another search, and offered the position to a familiar face — Schulte.

However, the Board of County Commissioners withdrew that offer after the two parties failed to agree on performance measures to be included in Schulte’s contract.

Following that failed offer, the county hired The Mercer Group, Inc. to conduct a search.

Henderson was one of five finalists named during that search, and one of three finalists interviewed again on Dec. 18 (one interviewed via video conference, while Henderson and a third candidate appeared in person).

Henderson, of Basalt, Colo., earned a B.A. in business administration from Fort Lewis College in 1987, and a master’s in public administration in 1992 from the University of Colorado.

Henderson most recently served as public works director for the Town of Basalt, beginning that position in September 2008.

Before that, Henderson was property and purchasing manager, then assistant city manager for Aspen between February 2006 and August 2008, and special projects assistant, building official and assistant town manager for the Town of Carbondale, Colo. from July 1991 to December 2004.

Following the Dec. 18 interviews with the candidates, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners met with members of the interview process in executive session to discuss the candidates, and emerged 20 minutes later with a decision to offer the position to Henderson.

Those participating in the executive session were commissioners Clifford Lucero, Steve Wadley and Michael Whiting; county attorney Todd Starr; Tonya McCann, paralegal and co-interim human resources director; co-interim human resources director Leann Foutz; Larry Walton, contracts and procurement officer; community members Barbara Hendricks, Bill Kinsley and Gwen Taylor; and Jim Mercer, Mercer Group president.

The position

In conducting the search to fill the position, Mercer created a brochure to invite interest for the position.

That six-page brochure delves into qualifications required of candidates, information about the position, and about Archuleta County and its government.

The compensation range, according to the brochure, is $77,854 to $108,992 depending upon experience and qualifications of the selected candidate.

Also included in the brochure is a section on performance measures set by the BoCC to be included in Henderson’s contract.

Those performance measures were the point of contention when the board and Schulte were negotiating a contract.

Those performance measures are, according to the brochure, “general objectives for the County Administrator to, in good faith, diligently perform within the first year of the 3 year term of an Agreement. As noted in Section 13 below, the County Administrator shall create a Performance Plan acceptable to the Board and the County Administrator.”

The brochure has no numbered sections, but the following paragraph states, “Annually, the Board and the County Administrator shall define the Performance Plan that they determine necessary for the proper operation of the County and shall, in writing, further establish a priority among the various goals and objectives. The goals and objectives shall be reasonably attainable within the time period specified and the annual operating and capital budgets and appropriations provided as needed.”

The document lists seven performance measures to be completed by the new county administrator:

• “Implementation of performance measures for those departments and operations within the control of the County Administrator. The county administrator will use his/her best efforts to include the County operations administered by the other Elected Officials, but their participation is at their discretion.”

• “Implementation of Internal Controls focusing on those internal control weaknesses identified by the County’s third party auditor on an annual basis.”

• “Design and implement an Economic Development Strategy in close consultation with the Board of County Commissioners and other relevant parties deemed necessary by the Board of County Commissioners. Complete a County Road Plan.”

BoCC Chair Clifford Lucero said earlier in December that the EDS would be putting together an active response for those interested in coming to the community.

“What I believe it would be is putting an A-team together,” Lucero said, adding that he was unsure of who that team would consist of. “That’s one of the biggest things. We need to be inviting.”

The county currently has a Five-Year Road Plan in place, but Lucero said the role of the administrator would be to keep that plan updated.

• “Develop and implement a Fleet Vehicle Replacement Plan.”

The county is also currently seeking to hire a fleet manager, with Lucero stating that responsibility would likely belong to the fleet manager. Too, Lucero said Smith put the plan together before his October departure, when the flyer seeking administrator candidates was already out.

• “Develop and implement a County facilities capital improvement plan.”

• “Develop and implement an organizational structure that reduces the number of direct reports to the County Administrator to no more than seven (7) for any employee.”

Starr said earlier this month he believed Smith had 12 direct reports.

• “Develop and implement a methodology for review of staff directly supervised by the County Administrator to include, at a minimum documenting employee personnel files.”

Starr said he believes the goal is to make sure the county is staying on top of documenting personnel issues and performance reviews.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on December 26, 2013.