Committee will recommend pay scale for county manager
January 27, 2009
A nationwide job search has begun for the first Summit County manager, a powerful post that will oversee the government’s executive branch.
And the economic downturn could mean many qualified people will apply, interim Summit County Manager Brian Bellamy said.
"I would imagine we’ll see quite a few applicants," Bellamy said. "It’s just the state of the economy right now."
High-paying positions are hard to find, Summit County Councilman Chris Robinson said.
"There are a lot of good people looking for work," he added.
The first step in the important process was for the Summit County Council to name three people to serve on a selection board which will appoint a separate five-member committee to review the resumes. The first three members appointed last week included Parkite Blair Feulner, North Summit resident Doug Geary and Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley, who lives in Woodland.
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They will appoint two more people to their selection board, which then decides who serves on the separate committee that will recommend final candidates to the Summit County Council.
But despite budget belt-tightening in the County Courthouse, officials are poised to offer the new county manager a salary that is too high, Hoytsville resident Mike Crittenden said.
The annual salary for the new executive could top $130,000.
Crittenden examined what comparable positions in nearby counties earn as a member of the committee that recommended the form of government in Summit County change. The annual salary for the Wasatch County manager is $76,000 and the county executive in Cache County earns about $72,000, he said.
Generally, elected officials and department heads in Summit County are overpaid when compared with their colleagues statewide, Crittenden said.
A commission independent of county government is needed to review pay for Summit County employees before the new Summit County manager is offered a compensation deal, he said.
"You’ve got to get out of the [County Courthouse] to get a fair look at it," Crittenden said.
The Summit County Council, now the legislative branch of government, expects to appoint a compensation committee today to examine how much money county managers receive in resort areas similar to Park City, Bellamy said.
"They will be recommending to the [County Council] how much this person will be paid," Bellamy explained, adding that the committee could make its suggestion within two weeks.
Councilpersons are being careful not to set the salary too low to avoid "low-balling good candidates," Bellamy said.
"I have been told by employees at Wasatch County that they were turned down because of that," Bellamy said.
According to Robinson, "I don’t think $75,000 is the right number."
"The [compensation committee] will go out and do their due diligence and come up with a recommendation for a salary range and other benefits for the county manager," Robinson said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We don’t want a lot of turnover so we need to pay a competitive wage."
The form of government in Summit County changed this month from the former three-person Summit County Commission to the five-member council/manager model.