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Clerk tabbed as 1st county administrator

Republican committee to appoint new clerk

Staff writer

Longtime county clerk Tina Spencer will become Marion County administrator Feb. 1.

The first to hold the position, she already is a familiar face, having been county clerk since 2013 and was deputy county clerk from 2005 to 2013.

County commissioners voted Friday to hire Spencer on a three-year contract. Her salary for 2024 will be $100,000. It will be reviewed each following year.

Her duties will include effectively administrating the affairs of the county; coordinating and enforcing resolutions, policies, and rules; overseeing appointed department heads and human resources; attending all commission meetings; presenting proposed policies; preparing estimates of revenues and expenditures; monitoring programs and budgets of all departments; and keeping commissioners informed of the financial condition of the county.

“I know that I will have a lot to learn, and it will be somewhat experimental and fluid as we figure out the actual structure of the position and what works in Marion County,” Spencer said. “I don’t expect the transition to be easy — it requires a shift in thinking, away from ‘how we’ve always done it.’ I am looking forward to facilitating that thought process for our organization. We have so many great people, all with their own ideas and amazing expertise. I would like to channel that to benefit our entire organization.”

Spencer will get the same benefits as other employees and receive 160 hours of vacation time because of her tenure as county clerk.

She will get a $350-a-month car allowance and be paid mileage if she has to travel beyond an adjoining county.

If Spencer is terminated, she will get a lump sum of three months’ pay plus accrued vacation and sick days.

If she resigns, is convicted of a felony, or is fired with cause, no severance pay will be given.

Commissioners had discussed hiring an administrator since 2016, but discussions were a rollercoaster.

Nearly $100,000 was budgeted for an administrator salary in 2017, but voters rejected hiring one in an advisory election that November. Salary money was carried forward to 2018.

A year later, after voting to pursue an administrator despite the referendum results, commissioners faced a packed meeting room when members of the public came to be heard on whether they supported or opposed the idea.

In January 2019, commissioners decided not to hire an administrator.

They took the idea back up in April 2020 and in August 2021.

In November 2022, they sat through a sales pitch for a headhunter who previously had worked with the cities of Marion and Hillsboro.

Two weeks later, Marion’s and Hillsboro’s city administrators chimed in, encouraging commissioners to hire an administrator.

A week after that, commissioners voted to move forward.

In July, commissioners voted to have Kansas League of Municipalities government adviser John Deardoff recruit candidates and forward resumes of applicants he considered worth interviewing.

Panelists were selected to help decide which two candidates to interview.

With Spencer stepping down as clerk, Marion County Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen will appoint a new county clerk to fill out Spencer’s term.

The party will hold a convention at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Marion County Lake Hall.

People interested in the position may contact the county clerk’s office at (620) 382-2185 for an information packet. Completed forms are due in the clerk’s office by noon Jan. 18.

Spencer’s new office tentatively is planned for what is now office space for the road and bridge department at the south end of the courthouse basement, commission chairman David Mueller said. Road and bridges will move in February to 1240 Commercial Dr., north of US-56 in Marion.

“It’s important to keep the administrator in the courthouse,” Mueller said.

Last modified Jan. 4, 2024

 

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