PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones offered Tuesday to postpone his Sept. 1 retirement if the Board of County Commissioners needs more time to hire his successor.
“If you … want to take a little longer period of time, I’m not going to stomp my foot and hold my breath until I turn blue that I have to be out of here on Sept. 1,” he said.
Jones told the commissioners he would be willing to stay until October and that at the end of October he will take a two-week vacation — something he hasn’t found time to do once during the past 30 years of his career.
“I’ve never taken two weeks off from either this job or the job I had at [Port Angeles School District],” he said.
Jones worked at First Federal Savings & Loan in Port Angeles for 17 years, holding a variety of administrative and supervisory positions.
He was executive director for business and operations at the Port Angeles School District for nine years before he was hired as the Clallam County administrator in May 2006.
Commissioners Randy Johnson and Bill Peach each thanked Jones for being willing to stay with the county longer. Commissioner Mark Ozias was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting due to a family emergency.
“I appreciate your flexibility. It’s very professional,” Peach told Jones.
Johnson and Peach directed the county’s human resources department to begin looking for agencies that could find Jones’ successor.
One firm, the Issaquah-based Prothman executive search agency, already had submitted its proposal to the county. By the end of the day Tuesday, the county had reached out to other firms as well, Jones said.
Jones said ideally the new administrator’s first day on the job would be about 30 days before Jones steps away from the county.
This would allow him to work with the new county administrator and get him or her up to speed on the job.
With Jones offering to stay another month, this could mean the new county administrator could start as late as Sept. 1.
Johnson said he had concerns that the transition will be happening as the county is preparing its 2019 budget.
“We’re coming together right before budget and you’ve been involved with budget at the same time,” he said.
The county typically looks at the preliminary roll-up budget in fall and approves the final budget in September.
Last year the commissioners were looking at the preliminary budget in September.
Johnson said he also wants to be sure that the firm looks into applicants’ histories before the commissioners make their decision.
“I’ve been so surprised when I’ve been involved in other searches where people’s resume isn’t exactly so,” he said.
Peach said in his experience with headhunters, it’s important to completely investigate a candidate’s background.
He said another “pitfall” he has run into with executive search firms is when the firm doesn’t present candidates that are the “right fit” for the organization.
As the county begins the process of hiring a new administrator, the commissioners are still discussing what the county administrator’s job description will be.
The board has discussed the possibility of splitting the function of the county administrator into two positions: a county executive to oversee day-to-day operations and a chief financial officer who would oversee the budget and lead a newly-created finance department.
Jones said he has presented the commissioners with a job description that fits that criteria.
“No decisions have been made,” he said. “They’ll have to make it sometime in the next two or three weeks.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].