MORGAN -- Morgan County officials are surprised by the amount of interest in the vacant council administrator position and are making plans to move forward in the hiring process.
Fifty-one candidates applied for the job left vacant by Garth Day, who faces 43 criminal charges, including theft, money laundering, forgery and communications fraud.
Tina Kelley and Howard Hansen, the only two current members of the seven- member council who are guaranteed a spot after November's elections, accepted the assignment of conducting initial screenings and narrowing the field from 51 to as few as 10.
The matter will also be on the council's meeting agenda Tuesday.
When Day was put on administrative leave Aug. 28, he was making $77,500 annually, with a $450 monthly allowance for transportation and cell phone expenses.
When the vacancy was posted Sept. 30, it included a noticeably different job description than what Day had been filling. Missing were the fleet manager, purchasing agent and economic development responsibilities.
"This is a highly responsible position requiring considerable initiative and judgment but has no independent executive authority," according to the job description, which also mentions that Morgan County's form of government is no longer contained in state code.
Some residents have questioned whether that form of government allows for a council administrator position at all.
However, council members have argued that their part-time positions cannot adequately handle the day-to-day rigors of running the county.
The posting emphasized that the chief appointed agent position would operate under the direction of the county council while assisting council members with carrying out their executive and legislative powers.
According to the posting, the new council administrator would provide immediate supervision and personnel management of all county department heads, as well as manage appointment processes associated with various boards, commissions, committees and districts throughout the county.
Although not an immediate supervisor over elected officials, the council administrator would be responsible for coordinating county budgets with the clerk/auditor and financial management activities between the council and other county-funded programs.
Serving as the county's public information officer, the new administrator would communicate all county affairs to the general public, elected officials, municipalities and news media.
The position would include other administrative duties such as planning, coordinating, drafting resolutions and ordinances, ensuring compliance and implementation of council policies, recommending improvements, interacting with citizen groups and updating the county website.
The council was searching for a candidate with a bachelor's degree at minimum and preferably a master's degree in business or public administration, plus at least three years of work experience.