ALPENA - The commissioners on the Alpena County Personnel Committee are working hard to find qualified replacements to fill the county's vacant equalization director position, as well as a new 911 director and emergency services coordinator. Former Equalization Director Harry Guthrie was terminated last month and 911 Director Mike Szor announced his intention to retire June 1, but has worked via a short-term contract with the county until his replacement is found.
Committee Chairman Mark Hall said several qualified candidates have been interviewed for Szor's position, but the county hasn't been able to reach an agreement with any of them.
"We have contacted several very qualified candidates, but we just haven't been able to close the deal after extending the offer," Hall said. "They didn't want to leave their current assignments and relocate outside of the area they are currently. We have another four candidates to interview, and then the hiring committee will see what becomes of this group. We are absolutely committed to finding the right person and will continue to look until that is achieved. Mike has taken the 911 center and emergency response to a whole new level, and we're not going to go backwards now."
Szor has been continuing his role with the county on a contract that is due to expire. He has indicated he doesn't want to leave the county hanging, but has a date set in which his duty must end. Hall said if a new hire isn't found by that date, a plan is being put together that will fill the void for a short time.
"We have decided that if two weeks prior to Mike leaving, if we don't have someone in place, myself and the lead dispatcher will sit down and discuss open issues and things that need to be done so nothing falls through the cracks while we continue to interview candidates," he said. "This is an important hire, and we want to find the right person. We will find the right person."
Hall said because he has his hands full with finding Szor's replacement, Commissioner Lyle VanWormer and two members from the personnel committee will be taking the lead in filling the vacant equalization director position. VanWormer said the candidate search is just beginning, and the deadline for resumes to be submitted hasn't reached yet. VanWormer said once the interview process begins, there is no timeline in place to have the position filled. He said because there will be a new treasurer after the first of the year, getting a strong person in the equalization office is a must. VanWormer said Commissioners Tom Mullaney and Gerald Fournier will assist him in the search.
"We are looking for a level 3 assessor, but right now we can't do anything until the Sept. 7 deadline for the resumes passes," VanWormer said. "It is going to be a big hire, and I am going to work closely with Commissioners Mullaney and Fournier to find the right candidate, and then we will make a recommendation to the full board of commissioners. I don't want to put a time frame on anything yet, because we are still in the very early stages of this."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.