Commissioners extend offer to interim county administrator

Mesa County Commissioners have extended a job offer to an interim administrator who will oversee the county while they decide how — and if — to fill the position on a permanent basis.

The commissioners expect to extend a formal written offer by the end of this week to Tom Papin to serve as interim county administrator for the next three to six months. If Papin accepts, he will start on Jan. 3.
Papin previously served as director of the Mesa County Department of Human Services. Until he recently retired, he served as director of the Hillsborough County Division of Children’s Services in Florida for five years.

“We believe Tom can hit the ground running,” said Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis. “His experience and contacts in Mesa County make him extremely well qualified to take the reins. We’re eager to work with Tom and hear his ideas for the county organization.”

Papin said, “I am excited and honored to be joining the Mesa County team.”

The decision to extend an offer to Papin to serve as interim administrator constitutes the latest step in what’s been a lengthy search to replace Jon Peacock, who  resigned in July. Peacock subsequently was hired as county manager in Pitkin County.

The commissioners tentatively offered the position to Michael Freilinger, a former county manager in Florida and Iowa. But they withdrew that offer after disagreement emerged over who should have been the top choice among five candidates and how much to pay Freilinger.

The commissioners are now considering other options.

They could continue searching for a new administrator.

Alternatively, they could opt not to fill the position. Some counties don’t hire a professional manager. Instead, they have departments report directly to the commissioners as a board and have commissioners take turns as a liaison to individual departments. The commissioners plan to consider whether the section option would work in Mesa County.