By Randi Pierce
On the heels of Archuleta County Administrator Greg Schulte’s resignation, the Board of County Commissioners is undertaking the process to find his replacement.
Schulte, county administrator since 2008, announced his resignation last week, effective Nov. 16, to take the position of assistant county administrator for San Luis Obispo County, in California. That county has 2,400 employees and a yearly budget just short of a half billion dollars.
Schulte and his wife have a long relationship with San Luis Obispo, he said. Schulte attended high school and college in the area and he and his wife once resided there.
The BoCC discussed the recruiting process for Schulte’s replacement in a Tuesday morning work session.
During the work session, it was agreed that the application period for the position will open tomorrow, Oct. 26, and will remain open until Nov. 30.
The first week of December will allow for an internal review of the applications received, with interviews likely held in January.
In the meantime, County Attorney Todd Starr will serve as interim administrator. Starr is slated to be appointed to the role at the board’s Nov. 8 meeting.
In beginning the discussion Tuesday, BoCC Chair Clifford Lucero expressed his desire to keep politics and agendas out of the recruiting process, stated the need to hire an interim manager, and noted his preference to use a hiring committee mirrors the process used during Schulte’s recruitment in 2008.
In 2008, Schulte was hired as interim administrator, then applied for the permanent position. The process used a firm for the recruitment at a cost of about $20,000.
“We talked in the hallway,” Lucero said, noting that he was not speaking for the board without having conversed with the other commissioners prior to the meeting.
Discussion then delved into the length of time an interim manager would be required and whether there were county employees who could serve as interim manager, allowing the county to avoid a hiring process for both an interim and a permanent administrator.
In discussing county employees capable of the job (three were deemed capable and workloads for each individual were discussed), it was noted that, should Starr serve as interim administrator, Deputy County Attorney Robert Kern would have to step into a larger role to avoid Starr giving both policy and legal advice to the board.
Commissioner Steve Wadley said the temporary alignment would also serve for professional development within the county.
“This is probably the most important decision we’ll make in the next four years,” Wadley said of the recruitment.
The recruiting, it was agreed, would be done by county personnel using a method similar to one used to recruit the finance director — the position will be advertised with professional organizations (International City/County Management Association, in this case) and a brochure detailing the position sent out to county offices throughout the state.
From there, applications and interviews are slated to be completed by a series of three panels — the commissioners, an internal panel consisting of some department heads and elected officials, and a community panel with individuals appointed by the board (such as members of other county task forces).
Commissioner Michael Whiting suggested that, to avoid politics and agendas, the commissioners decide as a group on three members for the community panel, then each commissioner individually choose one other member, making for a panel of six.