More than 20 people have applied to fill the county clerk position, and Effingham County commissioners still may have to decide just how the next county administrator will function.
The county clerk and county administrator positions have been open since Patrice Crawley and David Crawley, respectively, resigned in May. Stephanie Johnson has been the interim clerk since June, and Toss Allen has been the temporary county administrator since May.
Chairman Wendall Kessler said the commissioners need to determine what they are seeking for the top position among county employees.
“You’ve got a county administrator’s description, you’ve got a county manager’s description,” he said. “What Effingham County has had is kind of a hybrid. It’s neither one nor the other. We are on record with the state as having a county administrator form of government. As a board we need to have more in-depth discussion as to what we’re going to be looking for, so that can be a little more definitive of the person who is applying, so we don’t have the issues down the road we might have.”
The commissioners may wait until January to delve into hiring a permanent administrator, according to Kessler.
“We’ve got a little bit more time to sit down and get a few more of our issues and our policies straightened out before we get somebody to administer it,” he said. “I think the county needs some definitive policies for an administrator to administer it.”
Commissioner Steve Mason said the difference between a county administrator and a county manager boils down to a level of control.
“A manager has a lot more power than an administrator. An administrator does what the board tells him to do,” he said. “A manager can tell the board what he did.”
Mason also said he believes the county could hire an administrator and then put the policies in place.
“It’s not like you have to have all the policies in place before you hire someone,” he said.
Mason added it would have been a good idea to have the working relationship between the administrator and the clerk outlined “before we got into a rush to fire them.”
“I don’t remember anybody getting fired,” Commissioner Forrest Floyd said.
Replied Mason: “I do,” before Kessler steered the conversation back to filling the clerk’s position.
The county has been advertising the clerk’s position for two weeks. At least two of the applicants already are employed by the county.
County human resources director Rushe Hudzinski-Sero said she will wait until she receives all applications before beginning a vetting process.
Hudzinski-Sero also asked commissioners if they want to form a panel to go through the applications and select finalists, and another panel to conduct interviews.
She also asked commissioners if they were satisfied with the current county administrator job description.
“I will set that job posting as soon as you like,” she said.
As posted, the position of county clerk will perform duties explicitly delegated by the commissioners and the county administrator. The clerk is responsible for recording and compiling the board’s meeting minutes and acts as the official records retention officer for the county.
Applicants also must possess and maintain a valid certification as a county clerk.
The position will pay $21.85 an hour, or about $45,000 a year.
Commissioners agreed to keep the job posting open until next week.