With vacancies opening in some of the highest level positions at Le Sueur County, the local government has launched a search to find a new county administrator and a new planning and zoning director. David Drown Associates, a recruitment firm hired by the county last month, presented a timeline to the Board of Commissioners which aims to have both positions filled come June.
The office of county administrator was left open last month after 20-year County Administrator Darrell Pettis resigned from the position to pursue a private industry career in engineering. At the end of last year, former Planning and Zoning Director Joshua Mankowski resigned from his position, as well, after the Board of Commissioners outsourced the work of the department to private consulting firm ISG.
The hiring process for both positions begins with the candidate recruitment process. For the position of county administrator, DDA created an advertisement describing the county and the organization of the local government and used descriptions straight from the Board of Commissioners and county stakeholders to detail what the the county is looking for in an administrator.
Some of the top priorities listed for a new county administrator included someone who could update the CIP and build a financial management plan that would build up county reserves, reduce debt, and fund capitol improvement projects, including broadband, ditches, roadways and bridges, sewer districts and determine the future of the old county jail. The county is also seeking someone that could help remodel the courthouse to address technology needs and improve efficiency and customer service.
DDA will be in charge of screening the applicants and selecting county administrator semifinalists. Those semifinalists will then complete a personality index and a video interview with DDA during the month of March. The County Board will have no part in screening the candidates until they select finalists for interviews on April 6.
Once finalists have been selected, DDA will conduct background, reference checks and intellect profiles and will compile the information for the County Board in packets. The County Board will then hold interviews with the finalists on May 3. DDA has recommended that the county hold these interviews during a special board meeting. A candidate would be selected the same day and the new county administrator would begin their first day on June 15.
The hiring process for a new planning and zoning administrator hits many of the same beats with a final interview before the board scheduled for May 12. While the county may see 10-12 semifinalists applying for the position of county administrator, DDA’s Liza Donabauer told the commissioners that there likely wouldn’t be as much interest in the planning and zoning director opening.
“This is a more challenging position to recruit for because there aren’t as many county administrator positions out there,” said Donabauer. “However, that doesn’t mean that those who have done work in county and city administration and management work may not be interested. They may have the interest and skill level that match what you are looking for here. So the numbers I think won’t be as high as what you’ll see for your county administrator applicants, but that what we’re here for is to find as many high quality applicants as we possibly can.”
In the interim, the county is recruiting internally for a temporary planning and zoning director. The city employee that fills the position would be considered along with the rest of the finalists in the interview process for the position.