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BLOOMINGTON — With less than six months left until McLean County Administrator Bill Wasson retires, officials want to hit the ground running to find his replacement.

The county plans to publish and advertise a job description in early January, close applications in mid-February and take a couple months to thoroughly vet candidates, leaving a brief overlap between Wasson and his successor before he leaves May 31.

"The sooner the better," said board Chairman John McIntyre of when he'd like to post the position. "Let's get a jump on this."

McIntyre said the county doesn't plan to employ a search firm, as the city of Bloomington and town of Normal did when searching for new city managers this year. Instead, a board committee will run the search in consultation with select local leaders and eventually the full 20-member County Board.

"In addition to stakeholders, we've got some great community resources" who can help with the process, said committee member George Gordon, noting former Administrator Terry Lindberg is still in the community and that board member Laurie Wollrab has human resources experience.

"I wonder if there's any way to bring them into the loop to the extent of our being able to capitalize on their perspectives and their expertise," he said. 

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Committee members will spend the next 10 days on the job description, then approve it and decide how and where to solicit applications at another meeting 2 p.m. Dec. 31.

The committee did not make a decision about whether internal candidates would be considered, postponing discussion to Dec. 31.

"What the staff can typically do is, if the search committee gives us parameters, we can go through and screen based on those parameters. I would not want the staff to be involved in any evaluative processes," said Wasson, who is assisting the committee. "Verifying backgrounds we can do. ... We can verify experience, current positions and education."

Wasson said the search doesn't affect his own process to hire a new assistant county administrator. He still plans to make a hire to replace Don Knapp, who left the assistant county administrator job to become state's attorney this fall.

Wasson's salary is $145,816, plus $17,248 in pension contributions and $22,540 in other benefits.

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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