CHIPLEY — The Washington County Board of Commissioners to no action on a plan that would have accepted help from the Florida Association of Counties in the search for a county administrator.
Florida Association of Counties Executive Director Chris Holley presented a plan to the commissioners on Wednesday in which the FAC would provide a peer review system of applicants for the county administrator position.
“The recruitment process is a struggle,” Holley said, “especially for smaller counties.”
For $5,000, Holley offered to provide the network services of the FAC to promote the open position in Washington County, and to provide a peer review committee of current county mangers who would go through the applications and pick the top applicants for the county commissioners to interview.
The county has been without an administrator since Steve Joyner resigned in April. Public Services Director David Corbin has been serving as a “point of contact” in Joyner’s absence.
The $5,000 would be divided evenly, with $2,500 going to the FAC and $2,500 going toward Holley’s expenses in pursuing applicants.
The county would be responsible for advertising costs and for collecting the applications, which would be forwarded to the peer review committee, Holley said.
The peer review program is new, and Walton County has been the first county to engage the FAC’s assistance in looking for a county manager.
Holley said that small counties are often the starting jobs for professional county managers, and the average job span industry wide is about two and a half years.
“You are looking for a professional with a very specific set of managerial skills and experience,” Holley said.
On Thursday, Commissioner Todd Abbott’s motion to accept the FAC’s assistance died for lack of a second.
“I need to refrain from voting because I am on the Florida Association of Counties board,” Commissioner Joel Pate said. No one else said anything and the motion was killed.
“I want to wait and see what they do with Walton County,” said Commission Chairman Alan Bush. “I think we need to keep David in that chair for a couple of more months, just so we can get some things done.”
Bush said he was very pleased with the job Corbin has been doing as an interim county administrator. “In the month or so he’s been there, he’s gotten things done that have been on hold for years.”
Commissioner Charles Brock asked if the county actually needed to fill Joyner’s position.
“Do we really need a county manager? It seems to me we can operate without one, and we could save the county some money,” Brock said. “That is a high-paying job.”
“We’re talking about finding someone who can move the county forward,” Abbott said, “no offense to David or the job he is doing. But we want to find someone who can lead the county into the future.”
The commissioners said they would reconsider the FAC peer review program in July.