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Janna Young appointed as interim Summit County manager

Summit County

The Summit County Council this week appointed deputy county manager Janna Young to serve as interim county manager effective July 30th.

Summit County manager Tom Fisher’s last day on the job will be Friday, July 29th. He resigned from the job after being named Town Manager for Frisco, CO. Janna Young, who has served in the deputy manager’s position for more than four years, accepted the offer to step in until a new manager is named.

County human resources manager David Warnock said he thinks the earliest that Fisher’s replacement can be on the job is sometime in November.

Warnock informed the council that he has already reached out to some executive recruiting firms to find out what services they provide and how much they cost. For a full-fledged recruitment the cost he said could be as high as $30,000, including travel expenses for finalists. The price would drop to about $10,000 for a recruiting firm to source all of the possible candidates and simply turn those names over to the county.

County council members said they favored going with the higher level of service, but that will be a decision that’s made by a five- to nine- member community selection committee that could be appointed as soon as the council’s next meeting July 27th.

The county will post a notice for those interested in applying for the selection committee shortly. Council members and staff can also make suggestions as to who they think should be on this committee.

A question the council will have to decide on, Warnock said, is whether the county offers the new manager a housing allowance.

“When I contacted the search firms, the first question that came out of each of them, the five I contacted, was whether the county provides a housing allowance or a house for this position. They told me, each of them told me separately, that it would be very difficult at the salary level that we had discussed with them to find candidates in the market with the housing cost the way they are.”

Summit County attorney Margaret Olson suggested that the county might consider qualified applicants who already live here.

“Our community is unique in a lot of ways,” Olson said. “One of which is that we have a highly educated constituency. People who already live here have qualifications. Why not open it up without national search or a search firm, open the job up and see if anyone who applies, who already lives here, and then we wouldn't need to provide any kind of housing allowance.”

But council member Roger Armstrong said the job is a lot more than being educated and having some sort of CEO experience.

You can also be penny wise and pound foolish,” Armstrong said. “I’m pretty highly educated, I could not step into a county manager position. I don't have the code or the finance or any of the other special jobs goes that people from county administration and city administration have. So, you might have somebody who is the CEO of Coca Cola for 20 years. I'm not sure that they're going to be what you want for a county manager and to save the cost of a house subsidy.”

Council chairman Chris Robinson said the county may want to consider at some point whether it wants to get into the real estate business and purchase a home. He noted that even outgoing manager Tom Fisher had mentioned to him that the county would have to offer housing to his replacement, given the searches for other county positions. Several candidates backed out of the recruitment process when they learned that housing wasn’t part of the compensation package.