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Search for county administrator, personnel director continues

A lack of qualified applicants and disagreement over potential candidates have led commissioners to continue their search this month for two key jobs in their administration.

Greene County re-opened its search for a human resources director this month after reviewing dozens of applications and interviewing several candidates, said the county administrator.

The county initiated the search for a director over the summer after Kenneth “Ken” Johnson, the former human resources director, submitted a letter stating he planned to retire at the end of September.

Johnson earned $84,780 annually in salary and benefits, according to county data.

The county has received an estimated 40 to 50 applications for the human resources director position, said Greene County Administrator Howard Poston. Less than eight met the minimum qualifications and had interviews, but they did not have the skills necessary for the job such as knowledge of federal and state personnel laws or labor negotiations.

“Right now we haven’t found someone that has that right mix of human resources experience,” Poston said. “Its hard to find someone that has a background in human resources and government experience,” Poston said.

After Johnson retired, the county administrator appointed Julie White interim human resources director.

The county is simultaneously looking to hire a new county administrator after Poston submitted his resignation to county commissioners indicating he planned to retire in February.

The salary for county administrator is not listed in the job vacancy announcement, however Poston earns $132,488 annually in salary and benefits, according to county data.

So far, 18 people have applied for the the county administrator position and three have been interviewed. Commissioners narrowed the pool down to two candidates, but could not reach a consensus on either, said Greene County Commissioner Bob Glaser.

“Although they were good candidates, Greene County deserves the best,” he said. “We have several good leads and hope to come to a consensus.”

However, the position was re-posted on the county personnel website this month.

“They didn’t have the right mix of skills,” Poston said.

The county commissioners are looking for a someone with finance, management and organizational skills, Poston said. County administrator candidates also need to be able to work well with other people. The job requires the administrator to be a negotiator and mediator, he added.

“That’s part of what this job does,” Poston said. “It resolves problems before they they become bigger ones.”

The county administrator and human resources director positions have been advertised on the CareerBuilder employment website and professional association publications in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Indiana, Poston said.

In addition to trade publications and employment websites, the jobs have also been posted on the county website and will close on Dec. 30. The latest posting for the human resources director marks the third time the job has been listed, Poston said.

“It’s hard to fill those positions,” Poston said. “I don’t think this is unusually long. You want to take the time to find the right person.”

Shortly after Johnson and Poston submitted letters indicating their plans to retire, Greene County Development Director David Kell resigned in November and accepted a similar position as the economic development director in Madison County. Kell earned $ $60,403 annually in salary and benefits, according to county data.

Poston has been overseeing the development department since Kell left.

The Greene County Development Director position was posted on the county website and applications were accepted until Nov. 20. However, plans to hire a new director have been temporarily put on hold, Poston said.

“They (county commissioners) would like the (new) county administrator hired and in place so that person can conduct the search for the development director,” Poston said.

The county has spent about $6,800 on advertisements for all three job openings, according to the county personnel department.

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