Commissioners withdraw offer to prospective administrator

Michael Freilinger
Michael Freilinger

The Mesa County commissioners have decided not to offer a job to a man identified as the finalist in the search for a new county administrator.

The commissioners now must decide whether to continue the search and consider other candidates or opt not to fill the position and have county departments report directly to them.

The commissioners had tentatively offered the position of county administrator to Michael Freilinger, a former county manager in Osceola County, Fla., and Polk County, Iowa.

The commissioners withdrew a final offer, however, after disagreement emerged over who should be the top choice among five candidates.

“Our board feels we need to have more agreement on who we select and how we move forward,” Commissioner Craig Meis stated in a news release. “This decision is very important. It sets the tone for our entire organization and all the important services the county provides. We want to make sure we put the right person in this position and give them the tools they need to succeed.”

Commissioner Janet Rowland agreed. “I see too much of a challenge for Mr. Freilinger coming in to the situation as it stands. While we felt he was a very strong candidate with great experience, we don’t want to put him into a scenario where he isn’t given a fair chance to accomplish everything we’re asking for.”

The commissioners are now considering other options.

The could reconsider other candidates who have applied for the job of county administrator. They had narrowed the search to five candidates, including Freilinger.

The commissioners also 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 said they plan to gather more information about this option and analyze whether it might work in Mesa County.

The commissioners launched a search after Jon Peacock resigned as Mesa County administrator in July, saying he decided to take time off from his career to spend time on family business matters. Peacock subsequently was hired as county manager in Pitkin County.

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