Summit County expects new manager will start in January |

Summit County expects new manager will start in January

Final round of interviews slated for December

Summit County Courthouse.
Park Record file photo

The months-long search for Summit County’s new manager is approaching the final stages with officials hopeful the influential position will be filled by the beginning of 2023.

The county manager selection committee, which was formed over the summer, is scheduled to interview six candidates for the county manager position on Friday, according to David Warnock, the county’s human resources director. The names of the finalists have not been made public but Janna Young, who has been serving as interim county manager since Tom Fisher’s departure in late July, confirmed to The Park Record she is one of them.

The committee is expected to forward two to three — although the actual number is unspecified — recommendations to the Summit County Council for review. Warnock anticipates the County Council will begin interviewing the finalists during the first week in December with a new hire coming on soon after.

“We’re on target from where we were when the selection committee formed. I think we’re doing pretty well,” he said. “We’re hoping by the first part of the year, we should have a county manager in place.”

The selection committee is made up of nine community members who applied and were appointed by the County Council. The group has met nearly every other week since forming in August to discuss the qualities and skills a new county manager should have, and was tasked with selecting a recruitment firm to draw in national candidates. The committee, as well as County Courthouse staffers, also helped create a brochure highlighting the characteristics of the community and what is expected of the county’s chief executive.

Warnock said the committee is most focused on the candidates’ previous experience in municipal government and is seeking someone familiar with a resort town. The group is also considering someone with a mixed background, in both cities and rural areas, to address the needs of the Snyderville Basin as well as the East Side. Being able to handle the day-to-day issues including planning and zoning, transportation, development and open space while also managing 360 full-time employees, balancing a multi-million dollar budget and engaging with the community, are crucial, too.  

“The committee has been very considerate of what Summit County needs, not just now, but what it needs in the future,” Warnock said. “They’ve taken into consideration all the factors that are important right now to get the next county manager, and make sure they fit in with Summit County culture and the needs of the county as well as the needs of the employees.”

Candidates are expected to have qualifications like five years of experience working in local government and a bachelor’s degree in public administration or a related field. The hiring range for the county manager position is between $185,000 and $210,000, according to the recruitment brochure. Other factors such as relocation and housing assistance, which were initially a concern for the County Council, may be negotiated. 

Compared to other vacancies in the County Courthouse, the county manager position has not been too difficult to fill, according to Warnock. He said there’s been a good response to the recruitment with quality candidates — including some outside of Utah.

“I describe recruiting as sort of an inverse funnel: there’s a lot of people at the lower end jobs but when you advertise and look for someone that’s like a CEO, where the pay is significant, and what have you, you get more people that apply because that’s what everyone is working towards,” Warnock said. “You have a big group of people below and they all want that top-level job.”

Tom Fisher served as county manager for more than seven years. He was the second person to take on the role after Summit County’s government transitioned from a three-member county commission to a five-member County Council and manager structure. Fisher now works as the town manager in Frisco, Colorado.

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