As they begin the process of filling the vacant county administrator position, Barton County commissioners will hold a special meeting starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Barton County Courthouse, 1400 Main in Great Bend. The meeting will include a series of executive sessions to hold county administrator candidate interviews.
The morning interviews, to be done in the executive sessions, are scheduled for 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The commission will then reconvene in open session and recess for lunch.
Commissioners will resume meeting at 1 p.m. Afternoon interviews are set for 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
The Barton County Commission on Oct. 11 approved hiring Don Osenbaugh and John Deardoff, municipal consultants, Derby, for $11,000 to help in the search for an administrator.
“They are very, very concerned about confidentiality,” County Counselor Patrick Hoffman said during the Oct. 11 meeting. So, they assured all applicants that the search process will be done in executive sessions with the commission.
Hoffman said this is allowed under the Kansas Open Meetings Act. Applicants will be treated as non-elected personnel, a permitted topic for closed-door discussions.
“They will not release names of applicants” except to commissioners, he said. “Their philosophy is that they get better applicants if the search is conducted in a confidential way because many of these people will currently be employed in government, and they will be less willing to submit an application if that search is public.”
Barton County Engineer Barry McManaman was named interim county administrator by the County Commission on Aug. 30. The appointment of McManaman was needed following Phil Hathcock’s stepping down as county administrator on Aug. 24.
Hathcock took the job as administrator after the county operated for about two years without an administrator. Richard Boeckman resigned from the post in October 2016 and Hathcock was named operations director in May 2017 and promoted to administrator in April 2018.