Imagine a $60-million organization with hundreds of employees and no chief operating officer (COO). An organization like that may be able to survive, but not at peak efficiency, nor can it be proactive in its vision for the future. Tazewell County is just that sort of institution, and we are currently in the process of replacing our administrator (COO).
Our former administrator, Michael Freilinger, left at the end of May to assume responsibility for the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria. Mike is an excellent leader, and his tenure with Tazewell County was very successful. We have now begun the replacement process and have high expectations of finding a high-caliber individual in a relatively short amount of time.
Even before Mr. Freilinger’s departure, we put out a request for proposal to six reputable national search firms. All six firms sent proposals detailing their price, experience, scope of work, timeline and references. Based on this information, the search committee selected GovHR out of Northbrook, Illinois. Incidentally, GovHR is the firm the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission recently hired to handle its director search.
Before our initial meeting with GovHR, a survey was sent to all board members, department heads and elected officials asking them what they would like to see in a new administrator. Experience, communication skills and financial acumen rose to the top. The results of the survey will now form the basis of what we will look for in a replacement.
Armed with the survey results, Heidi Vorhees, co-owner of GovHR, came to Tazewell County to interview board members and county employees. With our input, she drafted a brochure highlighting the many positives of our area, including the lowest tax rate in the State of Illinois, healthy fund balances and no debt. This information is included in the job advertisement that went out across the country in publications and websites dedicated to city and county administrator hiring.
We are now waiting for resumes to come in. GovHR will receive the applications and screen them against the criteria we set as a county. As we did two years ago when we hired Mr. Freilinger, we will narrow the list to four candidates and bring them to Tazewell County for interviews with the committee. This will also give them a chance to see the area and see if it is a good fit for them as well. At this point, the committee can select one of the four candidates or narrow it down to two candidates for further discussions.
Once it is determined who our candidate will be, we begin the negotiation phase. Normally, GovHR will help us develop a contract that is mutually beneficial to both parties. If the timeline we were given originally holds, Tazewell County should have its next administrator on board around October 1st. We have a history of very able administrators and look forward to the next having a long, successful career in Tazewell. iBi