County negotiating contract with new county administrator

Cook County commissioners have asked Jay Kieft to come on board as the county’s first county administrator. The county is in the process of negotiating a contract with Kieft.  At the October 15, 2013 county board meeting, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers handed out a proposed contract that had been drawn up by the county’s consultant, David Unmacht.

The proposed contract did not mention placing the county administrator on a job grid that relates pay to level of experience and years with the county like all other employees and elected officials are on. 

The proposed contract states that Kieft would be paid $99,000 a year and that his salary would be reviewed annually.  The county would pay up to $7,500 in moving expenses for Kieft to move from western Minnesota.  Kieft would start the job with 80 hours of paid time off and would accrue more time off at the rate of 25 days a year, the amount afforded to other county employees after five to 10 years of service.  The county would pay health and life insurance for Kieft and his dependents according to the same terms offered to other employees. 

Commissioner Garry Gamble questioned parts of the proposed contract, wondering what was customary for a county administrator position, but said they want to continue to build on the relationship they had already started building with Kieft.

Kieft has stated that he could start his new position December 9.