December 12, 2019

County Commissioners vote to hire MML to conduct administrator search

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WEST BRANCH — The Ogemaw County Board of Commissioners voted to hire the Michigan Municipal League at an approximate cost of $21,000 to conduct a hiring search for an administrator to oversee county departments during their Thursday, Nov. 14 meeting.

The commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of the measure, with Commissioner Ron Vaughn casting the dissenting vote. Commissioner Chairman Bruce Reetz was absent from the meeting.

The commissioners also voted 3-1 to approve the payment of $950 for annual membership to the MML and to approve the hiring of an interim county administrator utilizing assistance from the MML. Vaughn supplied the lone dissent in each of those votes as well.

The Herald reported in October that MML Executive Recruiter Jerry Richards gave a presentation on the league’s hiring services at the Oct. 24 commissioners meeting, which included building a digital brochure for the position, creating an advertising strategy and reviewing and screening the list of initial candidates drawn from a national search.

Richards said the league will typically come up with three to four candidates for the county to interview. The MML would also help with the final phase of hiring, such as extending a conditional offer of employment and providing a contract template.

Commissioner Craig Scott said he believes the fee to hire MML is worthwhile if it leads the county to a quality candidate. He said that, as part of the agreement, MML will reconduct the search if the selected candidate does not work out during a probationary period.

Scott said while the county has not had an administrator in the past, he believes hiring an administrator is a smart decision, as having someone overseeing departments on a full-time basis will prove cost effective in the long run.

Vaughn said while he believes the county would benefit from hiring an administrator, he does not believe it to be a cure-all to the county’s budgetary concerns.

“I do believe we need a county administrator,” Vaughn said. “But until we get this budget straightened out, the money is not there.”

Commissioner Jenny David said during the meeting she also has concerns about funding the administrator position and proposed the commissioners take a 20-percent pay cut to help fund it.

“I have talked to my townships related to the administrator role, and the question I usually get is, ‘How are you going to fund it?” David said. “I’m proposing to help fund this by us as commissioners taking a 20-percent pay cut.”

Scott said during the meeting the commissioners have eliminated several forms of compensation over the last 20 years including health insurance, per diem pay for meetings attended and mileage pay.

“All these things have been eliminated through the years, so now we’re entering another phase,” Scott said. “I’m not saying no, but I would for sure say that it’s contingent on the hire. I would not do it beforehand.”

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