County selects five administrator finalists


Staff Writer

Five finalists have been named for the position of Archuleta County Administrator.

The position has been vacant since Oct. 15, and has not been held by anyone for more than six months since the departure of Greg Schulte in November 2012. Schulte was hired in 2008.

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 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.

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 — 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 the EDS would put 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, later adding that he was unsure of who would be on the team. “That’s one of the biggest things. We need to be inviting.”

The county currently has a Five-Year Road Plan in place, and Lucero said the role of the administrator would include updating of the plan.

• “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. 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.”

Todd Starr, county attorney and co-interim administrator, said 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.

The finalists

According to a timeline for the county administrator search, finalists were originally to be interviewed the week of Dec. 2-6, with the county having received a short list of candidates from search firm Mercer in mid November.

The names of the finalists were delivered to SUN staff Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 3.

Interviews with the finalists are currently set for Dec. 17 and 18, with a decision likely following soon after, Starr said.

Those finalists are Rodger Bennett, John Bauer, Bentley Henderson, Steven Kubacki and William Way, Jr.

The following information on each candidate is taken from his resume:

• Bennett, of Florence, Ore., earned a degree in business administration from the Pontiac Business Institute in Pontiac, Mich., and attended graduate-level programs at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Most recently, from March 2010 to May 2013, Bennett served as chief financial officer for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe in Washington, prior to that serving in the same role with the Confederated Tribes of Boos, Lower Umpqua and Sluslew Indians in Oregon, serving in that position from February 2007 to October 2009.

Prior to that, Bennett served as city manager in both Florence and Clovis, N.M., as a regional vice president for a small business finance corporation in California, a senior consultant position with an economic and community development organization in Arizona, and as city manager in several locations.

• Bauer, of Willmington, N.C., earned a B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame in 1974, and a master’s in public administration from Syracuse University in 1976.

Most recently, Bauer has been self-employed as a writer, manager, consultant, role player and subject matter expert, beginning that role in May 2013. Prior to that, Bauer was a team leader and senior governance advisor of the U.S. Department of State, working as either a contractor or staff member from May 2008 to May 2013.

Before that, Bauer held jobs as a financial advisor, sales representative for a securities firm and county manager for several counties, and held other positions in public utilities and management.

• 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 currently serves 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.

• Kubacki, of Ashwaubenon, Wisc., earned a bachelor’s in resource management from the University of Wisconsin in 1979, completed planning course work at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and completed graduate-level course work at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Kubacki currently serves as village administrator for Village of Suamico, beginning in that role in 2011.

Prior, Kubacki served for one year as county administrator for Chippewa County, Wisc., and village administrator and city administrator for several locations, as well as streets superintendent and assistant director of public works.

• Way holds a bachelor’s in political science from Brigham Young University, and a master’s in public administration from the same school.

Way’s most recent position was that of city manager for Needles, Calif., taking on that role from 2008 to 2010.

Before that, from 2004-2008, Way was city manager for California City, Calif., and for Riverton, Utah from 1994-1997. From 1997 to 2000, Way was a municipal consultant.