Top selection for Oneida County finance director may pass on job
Person picked to replace Margie Sorenson could receive matching offer
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The person selected to replace longtime Oneida County finance director Margie Sorenson, who plans to retire at the end of this year, could end up turning down the job.
The County Board passed an amended resolution Tuesday to hire Darcy Smith, a deputy finance director in Shawano County, as Sorenson’s replacement with the provision the county’s Administration Committee could further negotiate with her, if necessary, for her to accept the job.
The resolution backed by supervisors tentatively sets Smith’s salary at the “Grade Level S” with a “Step 9” for an annual salary of $84,794 with total yearly wages and benefits coming to $120,615. She would also be awarded 15 additional days of Paid Time Off upon her hire.
Supervisors were informed by county human resources director Lisa Charbarneau that Smith, who was not present for the meeting because she has been involved in putting together Shawano County’s budget, could receive a matching offer to stay there.
“Shawano County counteracted with an equivalent offer to ask her to stay,” Charbarneau said. “That offer has to go to their Administration Committee (on Wednesday). That would have to be forwarded to their County Board next week Wednesday for that to be solidified.”
Charbarneau said Smith “absolutely” would still be interested in accepting the position in Oneida County if the offer she received to stay in Shawano County wasn’t finalized.
“I did ask her if she would consider a higher wage offer if we did that,” Charbarneau continued. “She said, ‘I don’t want to turn this into a bidding war. I don’t think that that’s ethical, and it’s not fair to the taxpayers of either county.’”
After Oneida County Board chairman Dave Hintz noted there was “competition” to hire Smith, indicating how much Shawano County valued her to want her to stay there, supervisor Ted Cushing of Hazelhurst introduced an amendment the board supported to authorize the Administration Committee to further negotiate the compensation of the finance director within the same grade level without having to return to the board for final approval.
Charbarneau said the grade level at which Smith has been offered the finance director/county auditor position goes up to 14 steps with a top annual salary of $94,654. She also noted Smith’s annual salary in Shawano County had been slated be $73,000 as of Jan. 1, along with a part-time town treasurer position Smith has that pays another $13,000 a year.
In the event Smith, who was one of 17 qualified applicants and four interviewed for the finance director/county auditor position, would stay in Shawano County, Hintz said “there is a second candidate that I think is acceptable, but Darcy was our first choice.”
Hintz said Smith didn’t seek the position in Oneida County only because of the money.
“She spends her weekends in Eagle River – she has a permanent camper – she really loves the area,” he said. “(She’s) looking for a change and gave many good reasons why she wanted to work for Oneida County….”
Sorenson, who was also on the interview committee that unanimously backed Smith to replace her, said Smith “is extremely qualified for this position, plus she has done some things that we need to get done here.”
“She has an extreme amount of experience that we won’t be training, so I highly support her,” Sorenson said.
In the event Smith would be hired and be able to work with Sorenson in the final three months of this year, the resolution’s fiscal impact statement, based on the tentative offer, listed the estimated cost for “double coverage” with wages and benefits totaling $30,154.
NAMES OF THREE OTHER FINALISTS RELEASED
Charbarneau said the applicant who would be next in line for the finance director/county auditor position, should Smith decide to stay in Shawano County, is Diane Sennholz, currently an accountant for Marathon County. Sennholz previously was Marathon County’s clerk of court for 10 years before losing a re-election bid for another four-year term in 2014.
The other two applicants interviewed, Charbarneau said, include Janice Anderson, who has been the program director for small business technical assistance with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, and Julie Ostrander, the city of Rhinelander’s finance director.