County Commission makes decision on hiring consultant for administrator job

BY JUSTIN SABATA

The Ellis County commissioners decided on which hiring consultant to pursue to assist in the process of finding a new county administrator. 

The Kansas League of Municipalities had been mentioned by Commissioner Dustin Roths previously. Roths explained that he had a colleague who was a lobby for the League and that it would not hurt to reach out to them. However, the proposal sent to Ellis County was thought to have too many built-in overages for the commissioner’s comfort, which could raise the price above what the commission wants to spend.

“They look like they could be up to around fourteen thousand (dollars), maybe,” said Commissioner Dean Haselhorst.

Another consultant office discussed the previous week was The Austin Peters Group from Overland Park, Kansas. This office has assisted Ellis County in the past and has most recently worked for Reno County, Kansas. Yet, when contacted by interim county administrator Darin Myers, the office felt they would be unable to assist Ellis County due to an already full consulting schedule. Also, as hinted by Myers after talking with Reno County, the consultant office’s prices would be more than what the commission wants to pay.

“Their estimated cost with Austin Peters was around, if I remember right, somewhere between sixteen or seventeen thousand dollars overall,” said Myers. “When we used Austin Peters, basically ten years ago…it was estimated around $13,500.” 

Myers then reassured that the latter price was from ten years ago and a lower price in the present was unlikely. 

Osenbaugh Consulting was another office that was discussed previously and became more of a favorite once The Austin Peters Group was out of the conversation. According to Roths, and confirmed by Haselhorst, Osenbaugh Consulting has mainly assisted in hiring city managers and has recently decided to work with counties. Nonetheless, the office was highly recommended to the commissioners who were impressed by Osenbaugh’s proposal. 

“I thought the Osenbaugh one was just more simple and direct to me,” said Commissioner Butch Schlyer. “A lot more confusion out of the (Kansas) League of Municipalities and I think it would’ve cost more money, too.” 

After a brief deliberation, the commissioners decided to invite Don Osenbaugh to formally meet and discuss further. The commission will not have a meeting on February 24 but expect to meet Osenbaugh face-to-face in March.

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