Butler County loses 7 top officials in less than one year

The resignationof Butler County’s Human Resources Director marks the seventh top official to leave the county’s employment in less than a year. STAFF FILE PHOTO

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The resignationof Butler County’s Human Resources Director marks the seventh top official to leave the county’s employment in less than a year. STAFF FILE PHOTO

The resignation last week of Butler County’s Human Resources Director marks the seventh top official to leave the county’s employment in less than a year.

Commissioners accepted former Butler County Human Resources Director Jim Davis’ resignation and approved hiring local attorney Laura J. Murphy, at an annual salary of $87,984, to replace him.

Butler County Administrator Charlie Young said the departures that came due to retirement — three, including Davis — were expected.

“There is turnover and you do lose good people that you value greatly and it can be for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Davis said he had been thinking about retiring for some time and now wants to teach.

“I have a master’s degree in teaching special education that I’d like to put to good use,” he said.

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He was in the middle of the slow union negotiations with Children Services, but Commissioner Don Dixon said that project is in good hands. Davis has worked closely with Kelly Babcock, a consultant with Clemans Nelson on many projects, including union negotiations.

“She’s been hands on so we’re all good,” Dixon said. “Kelly’s right there, she has been involved for a number of years so she is up to speed.”

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Young called the move to hire the new human resources director at the same meeting they accepted Davis’ resignation unusual, in that most times they will move someone into a vacancy on an interim basis, like Bill Morrison who was officially named the JFS executive director last month.

With Murphy — her start date is Sept. 11 — they had her resume on file with about 250 others for the new assistant county administrator position.

“When we were looking at the applicants for assistant administrator we realized that several of those had real potential for an HR director, however at the time we didn’t have that opening,” Young said. “So we had a set of resumes we could go from who we thought would be good candidates. You know sometimes things work out.”

The first local county leader to leave was Purchasing and Asset Director Randy Quisenberry, who left in November for a job at Council on Aging for Southwest Ohio; former Assistant JFS Director Jerome Kearns died suddenly just before Christmas; Former JFS Executive Director Ray Pater resigned in February after a two month leave of absence; Ron Davis, who used to run the airport, was fired in June; Water and Sewer Director Bob Leventry is retiring at the end of the month and Chuck Demidovich, administrator at the county nursing home, is retiring in early September.

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After Quisenberry and Pater left and in the wake of Kearns’ sudden death, the commissioners decided they needed a number two to help out at the top. Young said the search might slow down a bit until Murphy joins the county.

The commissioners never replaced Quisenberry so his duties were absorbed by other departments, for instance responsibility for the Butler County Regional Airport now lies with David Fehr, who heads the development department. Morrison has promoted Julie Gilbert to assistant director at Children Services and Shannon Glendon at JFS.

When Davis left the airport, commissioners said the long-term solution is to hire a contracted administrator, which will eliminate much of the $110,310 their old administrator cost them in salary and benefits. The airport has been struggling for a long time and has been a drain on county coffers.

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Leventry, who has been with the county for 22 years, said he’ll be turning 65 soon.

“I really had some misgivings about it (retiring),” Leventry said. “But when I got my Medicare card, it said it’s time.”

Sue Vance, who served as interim assistant county administrator for three months, is back at Water and Sewer — she was assistant director there for a long time — as the acting director when Leventry leaves.

Although Demidovich isn’t leaving until September, the commissioners named Jennifer Strickland the new administrator last month. She had been working as co-administrator with Demidovich on a contract basis since March.

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