Jim Allen suggests board consider waiting for elections before hiring new Johnson County manager

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The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday discussed a possible timeline for conducting the search to find a full-term replacement for ousted County Manager Hannes Zacharias that could see the group making an offer to a candidate this spring — though some members of the board have suggested there’s no rush.

A recruitment schedule timeline floated during a board study session yesterday would have the county extending a job offer in late May. Complicating matters is the fact that such a proposed timeline would have the board going through the most arduous portions of its fiscal year 2019 budget process at the same time it was going through the final stages of selecting a new county manager.

Second District Commissioner Jim Allen told his board peers he believed it might be prudent to hold off on the search to allow for the possibility that there may be changes in the makeup of the governing body after this year’s elections. Four of the seven seats on the board — those currently held by Ed Eilert, Ron Shaffer, Jason Osterhaus and Michael Ashcraft — are up for election this year. Allen said that if voters selected new representatives for the county board, those representatives should have a say in who the next county manager should be.

The commission directed staff on Thursday to compile a list of executive search firms that would be well suited to complete the manager search. Staff will present that list to the board at its Jan. 18 study session.

The board appointed Penny Postoak Ferguson, who had been deputy county manager under Zacharias, as interim county manager in December.

The sample timeline presented at yesterday’s meeting is embedded below:

[gview file=”https://dfv6pkw99pxmo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/05082025/Executive-search-timeline.pdf”]