The Skagit County commissioners are looking for a new county administrator as Tim Holloran gets ready to retire.
Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt said the county began its search in early February after Holloran announced his intention to retire at the end of May.
The county administrator is responsible for coordinating with departments to implement policy approved by the commissioners.
“We’ve got to find someone who’s fairly optimistic and fairly open-minded,” Dahlstedt said. “You have to be a good people person.”
He said the commissioners will look for someone with a strong background in managing large budgets and a large staff, and who is able to mediate between county leadership to reach decisions.
The commissioners have hired CPS HR Consulting to handle the application and review process, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
The salary range is $127,911 to $170,173, according a brochure from the company.
After 39 years with the county — 10 as administrator — Holloran is ready to retire.
His wife retired last year, he said, and he had been having an ongoing conversation with the commissioners about the right time for him to leave.
He said he doesn’t have a formal role in the hiring process, but he hopes his successor has knowledge of how local government works, specifically how to deal with the budgetary difficulties that counties experience.
“If you have the right person with the right attitude and aptitude ... you’ll be fine,” he said.
Several county residents who advocated for the failed county charter ballot measure last year have written in to the commissioners about a lack of opportunity for public input in this hiring process.
Gary Wickman, who chaired the pro-charter group Home Rule Skagit, said one of the reasons the group pushed for the creation of a county charter was to advocate for government transparency.
He said he and other former members want to have the opportunity to meet and question candidates in a public meeting.
“We’re interested in having some kind of public input in the hiring process,” he said.
Commissioner Lisa Janicki said there will not be a public interview at any point in the hiring process.
Holloran said he is aware of the letter-writing campaign, adding that he felt it is misguided.
“The administrator is more of your operations officer,” he said. “I don’t draft policy. I don’t necessarily recommend policy.”
Wickman, however, said that even if the administrator isn’t crafting policy, he believes personal politics plays a role in creating a plan for implementation.