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No decision made on new county admin
Commission looking making selection next Tuesday
county administrator interview pic
Barton County Counselor Patrick Hoffman, left, talks with county commissioners Jennifer Schartz and Shawn Hutchinson about the interview process for a new county administrator during a special meeting Wednesday morning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Barton County Commission emerged after a day-long special meeting Wednesday dominated by hours of closed-door meetings without selecting a new county administrator. It is anticipated a decision will come when commissioners meet for their regular weekly meeting this coming Tuesday morning.

The Wednesday meeting was called to conduct interviews with administrator candidates. These were conducted in executive session over the course of Wednesday morning and afternoon.

Commissioners reconvened in open session at 3:15 p.m. following the final interview only to go back into closed session to discuss the results of the discussions. They ruled out making a selection Wednesday because they didn’t want to rush to a conclusion.

“This is a big decision,” District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said before they returned for their final deliberations of the day.

There was a possibility that another special meeting would be called for Friday. But, the commission opted to hold off until Tuesday, Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said.

During the interviews, commissioners were joined by County Counselor Patrick Hoffman, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman and representatives from Deardoff Consulting, the Derby firm hired to help with the selection process.

In all, five candidates were under consideration.

The interviews were held in the courthouse conference room on the opposite side of the first-floor rotunda from the commission chamber. So the commissioners went back and forth as they went into and out of executive session.

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.