County manager search coming up short

If current applicants don’t work out, county might restart search from scratch

By Jake Thomas, Columbian staff writer

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Clark County is moving forward with its recruitment efforts for a new county manager and might have a final pick for its top executive in January. However, county council Chair Marc Boldt said the response so far has been underwhelming and it’s possible the county might restart the process if it doesn’t yield the right candidate.

“To be honest, I’m fairly disappointed,” said Boldt.

In May, the county council voted unanimously to terminate County Manager Mark McCauley. In August, the council voted to authorize Interim County Manager Jim Rumpeltes to sign a $27,000 contract with Strategic Government Resources, a Texas-based recruiting and consulting firm, to find McCauley’s replacement.

Boldt said the firm conducted a national search for the position and received 22 applications.

“I was expecting 50, 60 or 75,” said Boldt, who noted that applications are still being accepted.

Boldt said he’s not sure why the county received so few applications, but he said the advertised salary may have something to do with it. McCauley received an annual salary of $169,460 as well as a severance package. Boldt said that the county has advertised an annual salary of $160,000 to $180,000. He said that if the county wants to attract more applicants, it may have to raise the salary.

“It’s kind of hard, the (applicants) don’t know the county,” he said.

Boldt said that the council has picked 10 applicants to move forward with in the hiring process. He said they will be asked to respond to written questions on topics including growth management, working with the council and other local governments, as well as other issues. He also said the firm will solicit videos of each applicant talking about their experience.

Boldt said the council should have a final list of five candidates, which he said will be made public, right before Christmas. The council could make a final decision in the middle of January.

“If none of them work, we will start from scratch with the same firm,” he said.

Strategic Government Resources did not respond to a request for comment. Councilor Eileen Quiring, who had voted against awarding the contract to the firm, wrote in a text message that the “jury is still out.”

“I will withhold further comment until we go through more steps in the process,” she wrote.