Sheila McLaughlin reports
Picture three people who argue frequently.
One has been accused of screaming obscenities at workers. One accuses the others of hiding important meetings from him. The third solicits signed statements from staff to prove the other wrong in the press.
Now imagine they’re all your bosses.
These are Butler County’s elected commissioners, and it took them a year to find a county administrator, the fourth in four years at a time of significant budget challenges. The search was marked by months of infighting that revealed itself in public earlier this week.
The discord past and present led one job candidate to call Butler County “a political environment that’s anything but stable.” Even one commissioner agrees there are, as he put it, “elements of dysfunction.”
Accusations are still flying about disagreements that slowed down the hiring process even though Charles Young, a former deputy city manager in Hamilton, is expected to be appointed today as the commissioner’s fourth choice for the administrator’s job.
Three candidates who earlier received offers from among more than 29 applicants walked away for one reason or another.
One of them, Michael Hinnenkamp, who is the administrator in Springfield Township, said commissioners couldn’t offer him enough money.
He said he asked “north of $150,000” a year. County officials said it was more like $175,000 and a car. Hinnenkamp makes $135,000 annually in his current job. Young will be paid $125,000.
“It never made sense financially to … leave for the same (money) and have to drive up there and deal with a political environment that’s anything but stable,” Hinnenkamp said this week. “They’ve got some difficult challenges and personalities. It’s a long, long culture (of infighting) there.”
Commissioner Chuck Furmon refused to vote on Young’s job offer earlier this week. He said the number of qualified applicants fell short of what he expected.
“They’re going to be smart enough to do their research. There’s been elements of dysfunction and just nitpicking and what have you,” Furmon said. “I’m sure it’s in the back of their minds.” (more…)
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