Collaborator sought to manage county

As Mesa County begins sifting through resumes from applicants seeking to become the next county administrator, county commissioners have varying ideas about what they want to see in the man or woman who will navigate county government through the recession and into 2011.

But one skill they agree their hire must possess is the ability to collaborate.

“The strongest skill set, for me, that we’ve got to look for is a good collaborator,” Commissioner Craig Meis said. “Being on this side of the mountain, you’ve got to be able to collaborate with a lot of people and entities. You have to be firm but trustworthy and respectful. A bull in a china closet probably isn’t going to work.”

When County Administrator Jon Peacock resigned in July to tend to personal family matters, commissioners praised Peacock’s diplomatic skills and level-headedness. Commissioner Janet Rowland said she would like to see that continue in the next administrator.

“Jon was skilled at community collaboration and bringing people together,” she said. “When there were tough decisions to be made, he was able to go in and talk to people who were opposed, and even if they didn’t change their mind, at least they were better able to understand why we were doing what we did.”

Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said the new administrator must be able to work with all of the county’s public and private partners, particularly at the local level, and make decisions through building a consensus.

Beyond being a good manager of the county’s finances and personnel, the new administrator must be someone who possesses business acumen, Meis said.

Rowland said she wants a high-energy, self-motivated administrator who will generate ideas on how to run county government more efficiently.

Acquafresca said Peacock’s successor should exercise fiscal responsibility and, with regard to county spending, place a high emphasis on transparency and accountability.

The county is accepting applications through Friday. As of the end of last week, the county had received 18 applications, Human Resources Manager Sandy Perry said.

The county advertised the position in newspapers, magazines and websites locally and across the nation.

The position announcement indicates the county is seeking applicants with a master’s degree in public administration and at least six years of management experience. The annual salary ranges from $104,084 to $145,718, depending upon qualifications. Peacock was making $125,000 a year when he resigned.

Perry said commissioners likely will whittle the list of applicants to three or four and bring in that group for interviews at the end of this month or beginning of October. County officials would like to have a new administrator on board by Nov. 1.


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