After close to a year of discussions, planning, and consulting, the Blaine County Commission passed an ordinance Tuesday morning officially creating the position of county administrator.
The position, which has been on the county's radar since 2001 and is basically the equivalent of a chief administrative officer, will likely be filled in April.
Until then Stan McNutt will continue to serve as the interim county administrator.
"We've been talking about this in intricate detail for the past year, so it's really ready for passage," McNutt said Tuesday.
McNutt, who has over 30 years of experience in city and county government, was initially hired about a year ago to examine and enhance the county's management and government practices.
While his work was extensive, in a nutshell he recommended that the county pursue the creation of a county administrator to take over day to day management of the county. Doing so will help the overall management of the county, which has more than 150 employees, 19 departments and a budget of over $25 million, and allow the county commissioners to focus more on policy and community leadership and outreach, McNutt has said.
The administrator will receive policy direction and supervision from the County Commission.
"County governments across the country are hiring county administrators to take over day to day management and they have quantified numerous benefits to the taxpayers and public from hiring a professional who is educated and trained in current county management practices," the ordinance states.
The minimum qualifications for the position are a bachelors degree in public administration or a related field and five years of increasingly responsible experience in managerial and executive level positions.
"Well that was a milestone," County Commission Chair Tom Bowman said following passage of the ordinance.
A salary for the position has not yet been determined.