Rock Island County board closes in on hiring next administrator

4 The Record

Rock Island County’s been without a rudder for a few months now.

That’s after former county administrator Dave Ross left his job for a similar position in Florida.

It set off a search for the second administrator in Rock Island County history.

Ross got a lot of credit for providing more structure to the financially troubled county.

That problem resurfaced last month in a report from the county auditor that indicated the local government is struggling to make payroll.

It’s using a loan to pay employees.

Some candidates for the next administrator spent a couple of days here for interviews earlier this week.

County leaders now hope to have someone on the job by the end of next month.    

One big issue dividing the county board right now has nothing to do with the vacant administrator job.

Board members need to figure out what do with the old county courthouse.

Should it stay or should it go?

One plan being floated now would do the necessary work to remove asbestos from the building and then demolish it.

That doesn’t sit well with some board members who see it as a historic structure and want it restored.

Studies on the building go back more than 20 years.

Board members are trying to dig Rock Island County out of the hole it’s been stuck in for years.

It’s hard to have a bigger priority right now than hiring a new administrator.

Two men involved in that process joined 4 The Record for a conversation: County board members Kai Swanson and Drue Mielke.

Neither took part in the recent interview process, but Swanson and Mielke talked about the progress of finding a new administrator and what their fellow board members are saying about the caliber of the candidates.

Dave Ross painted some dire options when he was pushing the public safety tax that failed.

The auditor didn’t paint a pretty picture.

Mielke and Swanson discussed how bleak things are in the county operating without a permanent administrator for six months.

No one wants another short-term administrator.

Swanson and Mielke touched on how concerned they are that the job is a tough sell to candidates given the financial struggles.

Watch the entire discussion in the video above.

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