Council rejects applicants
September 1, 2009
About six more people could be interviewed for the influential Summit County manager post after the County Council rejected the first three finalists for the job.
The new names were chosen this week by the Summit County Manager Selection Committee, which met Monday at the Sheldon Richins Building at Kimball Junction.
The manager is needed to oversee the executive branch of government in Summit County because the form of government changed this year from the three-person commission to the five-member council/manager model. The citizen panel charged with vetting applicants for the powerful post recently picked three finalists. But, apparently none of them met the council’s high expectations.
"They came to the conclusion that those candidates were not the exact fit they wanted," said Brian Bellamy, the interim Summit County manager. "The council has talked about this as the most important decision that they are going to make this whole year. This decision is going to affect the county for years to come and they want to make sure they have the best possible candidate for the whole."
Summit County Councilwoman Sally Elliott said the first three candidates the selection committee advanced "had enormous amounts of experience and qualifications."
"But they just didn’t excite me and I want to be excited about our new county manager," Elliott said in a telephone interview.
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The three finalists were rejected after interviews and a social gathering with councilpersons.
Neither personal nor partisan politics factored into the decision, Bellamy said.
"I don’t think any of the council knew any of these candidates before they interviewed them," he said.
The County Council discussed the three applicants extensively behind closed doors.
"All of the candidates had different strengths. Some were very fiscally strong," Bellamy said. "But the council is looking for the total package and they just did not feel the ones who were advanced to them were the best fit for the county."
The selection committee had culled the names from a group of about 10.
Meanwhile, members of the panel expect to begin telephone interviews with the next batch of potential finalists next week.
"These are people who have already applied but they were not in that first interview list," Bellamy said. "If they like some, they will bring some in to visit in person. If they like them, they will forward three onto the council."
The applicants are men and woman from Utah and outside the state, Bellamy explained.
A nationwide job search was conducted by the county to find applicants for the job, which may have an annual salary of more than $130,000.
Qualified candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in public administration or a related field and at least five years of experience working in city or county government, Bellamy said.
"Those are the minimum qualifications. We’ve had everything from CEOs of organizations to an individual who was a stock boy at a Walmart. There are some who have had no government experience and some who had extensive government experience."