Interim Clallam County Administrator Rich Sill. (Peninsula Daily News file)

Interim Clallam County Administrator Rich Sill. (Peninsula Daily News file)

Clallam sets contract for interim administrator two years after appointment

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have established an employment contract for the interim county administrator.

The board also voted Tuesday to approve an agreement with Rich Sill, interim county administrator/human resources director, to continue to serve as county administrator and adopted a temporary policy reassigning financial duties of the county administrator to the chief financial officer.

Chairman Mark Ozias said the temporary policy would help address “inherent potential conflicts” with the HR director also serving as the county’s chief executive.

Sill, who was appointed interim administrator when former administrator Jim Jones retired in 2018, will earn an annual salary of $159,481 to fill both positions until a permanent structure for the county’s executive branch is finalized.

“Prior to this time, there was the salary for the administrator, and there was an additional salary for the HR director,” Sill said in a Thursday interview.

“So what we’ve done is we’re working the two positions in one.”

Commissioners received no public comments on an ordinance establishing the employment contract for the county administrator in a public hearing Tuesday.

Ozias said the previous search for a county administrator did not significantly involve other elected officials and department heads.

“What we’re really going for this time, instead of a recruitment process, is much more along the lines of a transition plan, and I feel really good about that,” Ozias said in the virtual hearing.

“I expect that what we’re going to end up with is some sort of a process that engages department heads, elected officials and others from throughout the county in a much more broad fashion to help us build an appropriate succession plan for this really important position.”

Commissioners appointed Sill — then-HR director, risk manager and county claims administrator — as interim administrator in October 2018. The county had rescinded a job offer from the top candidate for that position.

The board had never finalized a contract with Sill or disclosed what information it learned about the candidate that led to the rescinding of the job offer.

In December 2018, commissioners hired Mark Lane to fill a newly created position of chief financial officer. Lane continues to serve as the county’s CFO.

“In the past, all of those (financial) duties, as well as the supervisory responsibility for department heads and interaction with the boards and everything, were tied into one person,” Sill said Thursday.

“This organization is far too large to have one person carrying the entire financial process load and the board requirements, and then be responsible for the various departments.”

The temporary policy reassigning the county administrator’s duties will expire in September 2021 or when the county administrator/HR director positions are severed, whichever is sooner.

Ozias said the expiration date “underscores that we expect that we are in an interim arrangement.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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