County puts administrator hunt on hold

RBC I The plan by the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners to hire a full-time county administrator has officially be put on hold for now, board Chairman Shawn Bolton said.
The county administrator’s position has been vacant since former administrator Kimberly Bullen resigned from the post in April. The commissioners did put out a call for resumes from those interested in the vacant position and 10 people applied.
Of the 10 persons who did apply for the job, nine were from outside of Rio Blanco County. The three finalists who were interviewed for the position on July 12 were: Katelin Cook, currently the executive director of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce for the past three years and a member of the Meeker Town Council for six years; Alison Kincaid of Thornton, Colo., who is currently employed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a partnership coordinator; and Lori Cosslett of Grand Junction, the district manager for the Central Grand Valley Sanitation District.
“It isn’t that we weren’t happy with the candidates we had,” Bolton said. “With the hiring of new County Planning Coordinator Eric Jacquez, we now have a person doing a lot of what the county administrator might have had to do if we didn’t hire him.
“We need to get a better feel for what Jacquez can do and the pressure he would take off the new administrator and redefine what we need in the county administrator,” he said. “I believe that any of the three candidates could have done the job, but that job is now taking on a different look.”
Commissioners John Hill of Rangely and Jeff Eskelson of Meeker reiterated what Bolton said, believing that any of the three candidates could have done the job as county administrator but that the addition of Jacquez has put a different slant on the position.
“I am not certain what we are going to do next,” Bolton said. “I am still in favor of hiring a county administrator, but I don’t know if we will tell these three candidates to please be patient while we figure out where we are going to go with the job description or if we are going to end the search now and start over again at a later date.”
All three commissioners expressed surprise at the low number of applicants who had applied for the county administrator’s position, which, according to the ad placed for the position, would pay between $75,000 and $120,000 annually.
Bullen made $75,000 at the time of her resignation, which, she said, came about as she and the commissioners had the same vision of where the county ought to be headed, but they disagreed on the method needed to get there.
“We have some work ahead of us still,” Bolton said. “We need to reassess the job description and get it right.”
“I know we used to have an awful lot of complaints about the way the county was run,” Hill said. “Those complaints have dropped off quite a bit — so I’m happy with the way this county is going.
“We want to make sure we get it all right, and to do that means we need to have everyone on the same page knowing what the county projects coordinator is doing and that it is hand-in-hand with what the county administrator is doing.”
Bolton said there currently is no timeline to name the county administrator, but that “we want to take the necessary time to get it right.”