March 23, 2010


Legislators interview administrator candidates

Staff Reporter

Cortland County has made no move Monday to hire a permanent county administrator after officials interviewed Saranac Lake Village Manager Martin Murphy and North Rose resident Kenan Baldridge.
Legislators moved Murphy to the second round of interviews in the afternoon but say they want a larger pool to choose from.
“We would like more than a pool of one candidate,” Legislator Kathie Arnold (D-Cuyler, Solon and Truxton) said this morning.
A third candidate canceled his interview Monday morning, saying he was no longer interested in the job, legislators said.
Legislature Chairman Jack Williams is temporarily filling the role of county administrator without pay.
Both Baldridge and Murphy were interviewed by the morning panel, which consisted of Legislators Arnold, Tony Pace (D-7th Ward), Susan Briggs (R-Cortlandville) and Newell Willcox (R-Homer) along with five department heads and three union representatives.
The second panel consisted of Legislators Briggs, Willcox, Arnold, Pace, Sandy Price (D-Harford and Virgil) and Danny Ross (R-Cortlandville).
Social Services Commissioner Kristen Monroe and Personnel Director Annette Barber sat on both panels as did union representatives. Other legislators sat in on both interviews.
Arnold said Murphy was chosen to move on to the afternoon interview because legislators felt “he merited a further look.”
“We felt we could rule out the first candidate. The consensus was he wasn’t the person we were looking for for the job,” Arnold said. Arnold declined to discuss each candidate’s specific qualifications.
Willcox said he hopes the Legislature will have more candidates to choose from so the county can find a strong leader.
“In the dire shape of the economic situation, we need some real leadership. That doesn’t mean the two still in the running aren’t good leaders but I would like to have more of a choice,” Willcox said.
Willcox said he wants a candidate with “a lot of financial knowledge.”
Willcox said Murphy answered all the questions candidly.
“He appears to be a knowledgeable person in all the fields that were relevant to the questions. My problem is the scarcity of choice,” Willcox said.
But Ross said he liked Murphy and said he wants the county to hire an administrator quickly.
Ross is concerned if legislators take too long to hire an administrator, the county could still be without an administrator by June, when he would like to have the budget worked on.
“We are going to get someone in here who doesn’t know Cortland County and doesn’t know the budget and expect that person to do wonders,” Ross said.
Arnold said at Thursday’s Legislative session legislators will discuss a time frame for hiring an administrator and also discuss a salary range since that has not been posted with the job.
Ross thinks not advertising a salary with the job posting has discouraged applicants.
“I think we should have put a salary when we advertised,” Ross said.
Baldridge and Murphy did not return phone calls for comment by press time. No further information about their qualifications was available by press time.


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