First Cass County administrator returns for interim position

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CASS COUNTY — After the resignation of Karen Folks from the position of Cass County administrator in January, the new Cass County board of commissioners set out to find a replacement.

Briefly, while the commissioners reworked components of the hiring process and the position itself, county finance director Angie Steinman filled in various functions and tasks assigned to the administrative role. An interim administrator was selected by the commissioners, however, one who has experience in the position because he was the first person hired to the role in the 1980s.

Jeff Carmen, the first Cass County administrator and former Jefferson Township supervisor, has returned as the interim county administrator until a full-time employee is hired by the commissioner board. Carmen was hired for the position of administrator in 1986 when the position was first opened, and served in the role for about three years. He later served as township supervisor in Jefferson Township for about 16 years. Because of his experience, commissioners E. Clark Cobb and Skip Dyes thought Carmen would be a suitable interim administrator.

“He goes back quite a ways,” Cobb said. “He had done the job before and was familiar with the tasks and duties. I thought it would work out well until we decided on new administrator.

“He seemed to be fairly knowledgeable from being administrator before,” Cobb continued. “That would give him a good idea of what he’d be doing. It’s just somebody there who is qualified to sign documents and things.”

According Carmen, he is working about 28 hours a week in the position to simply act as the employee oversight for the county, as well as the liaison between the commissioner board and the county employees. Cobb noted keeping the county functioning well can be difficult without an acting administrator.

“It can be a lot tougher when you don’t fill that position,” Cobb said. “They’re basically keeping things running from an administrative standpoint on a day to day basis. They’re the connection between the board and the rest of the county, in a way.”

“I think things are going smoothly and hopefully we’ll be able to get the ball rolling on hiring new administrator soon,” Carmen said.

The ball for finding a new, full-time administrator is rolling, however. At the regular commissioner meeting on Thursday, commissioner Roseanne Marchetti informed the board there were 12 candidates who had applied for the position of administrator. According to commissioner Robert Benjamin, splitting the duties of finding an interim administrator and the next full-time administrator among the commissioners was part of a team effort.

“We’re working as a team on making these decisions,” Benjamin said. “We’re splitting up tasks and trying to get to better decisions by working together.”

Until a new administrator is hired, Carmen said he is delighted and willing to return to his former role to help his community.

“I’m happy to serve in any way in an interim capacity,” Carmen said. “I care a great deal about the county and the people who work here day in and day out.”