County’s search for a new RICO Administrator goes into high gear next week

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – The search for Rock Island County's new administrator will go into high gear after the New Year, three months after Dave Ross left the job to go to Florida.

Ross was Rock Island County's first county administrator, becoming the first professional manager to handle the multi-million dollar government operation.

"We learned a lot from our first County Administrator and I hope we apply those lessons moving forward," said County Board member Kai Swanson.

The County is using the same Chicago-based consulting firm to find a new Administrator.

The planned time line could mean a replacement will be hired by April.

  • The job will be posted just after January 1, 2018
  • Resumes will be due by early February
  • The consulting firm will spend the next month vetting the candidates
  • Those top candidates will be available for interviews in March
  • A possible vote to hire a candidate could come soon after that

"It was a difficult decision to pick the right candidate," County Board member Drue Mielke said about the process used when Ross was hired.

"Maybe there were several right candidates, and we're going to do that again," he said.   "That worked in our favor, that was the right decision, it is the right decision to do it again."

"If we learned a lesson from the past maybe we compensate them a little more to hang onto them a little bit longer," added Swanson.  "Maybe we treat them a little bit better and listen to their ideas."

Ross' base salary was $135,000.

County Board Chairman Ken Maranda says the exact amount his successor will get paid has not been set in stone.

But County Board members say the position is now crucial to making sure county operations, and its finances, remain stable.

"The only reason we've come in with, what is it, $56 in the black, I think out of the entire budget this year, is because we had a professional sharpening the pencil 24/7," said Swanson.

A representative from the head hunting company met with county workers in mid-December 2017 to get a better idea of who they want to fill the position.

Ross was one of 40 candidates for the Rock Island County job when the last selection process began in 2015.

Ross is now City Manager in Stuart, Florida after coming to Rock Island County from Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.