PORT ANGELES — Interim Clallam County Administrator Rich Sill will become Clallam County’s permanent administrator and human resources director as the county prepares to merge the positions early next year.
Sill has served as the interim administrator since October of last year, following the retirement of Administrator Jim Jones and after the county rescinded a job offer to the top candidate to replace Jones.
Before that merger happens though, commissioners said they want staff to identify any issues that could arise by combining the administrator and human resources director positions.
“Our model is unique in that we are looking at combining the administrator and HR director,” Sill said. “There just isn’t any other administrator that is also carrying the responsibility of HR.”
Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Stanley told commissioners that there are reasons that human resources is often separate from the administrator responsibilities.
“Information you need in that position should not be used in other management functions,” she said. “There should be someone available for appeals. HR should be available as a neutral third party.”
“In combining those positions you definitely lose some of those protections of soloing HR, which is a lot of the reason HR is often separate in organizations,” Stanley said.
Sill said that as he has served as an interim administrator, some of those issues have happened. In personnel matters that have required an appeal, those matters have been handed off to the deputy human resources director, he said.
“We’ve been working through those over the past year as those things come up,” Sill said.
The plan calls for creating a deputy county administrator position, which would also include risk manager/claims administrator, negotiations, facility and human resources responsibilities.
The Board of Equalization position will also be responsible for analyst and grant facilitator responsibilities. County staff will also conduct a salary adjustment for the clerk and deputy clerk of the board.
Commissioner Mark Ozias asked staff to highlight the “potential dangers” and “risks” of combining the positions.
“Highlight the situations that could come up that would be a problem so that we can flush those out and speak ahead of time how those would be handled,” he said. “That will allow department heads to feel comfortable with the model or if they have concerns about it they will give us something to reflect upon.”
Ozias asked whether the topic should go before the commissioners again by the end of January, but Commissioner Randy Johnson suggested it should be by the end of February.
Commissioner Bill Peach said he would like to see the leadership team involved in the conversation and that their feedback could help in the process.
“I’m interested in our leadership team’s feedback on the model in general, but I’m particularly interested in understanding form the department heads and electeds perspective, what concerns they might have around the combination administrator/HR position,” Ozias said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].