CLINTON — The Clinton County Conference Board approved a motion to move forward with hiring a candidate for the Clinton County assessor position and set a not-to-exceed amount for negotiations.

The Clinton County Conference Board on Monday approved hiring an unnamed candidate for the Clinton County assessor position. Former Clinton County Assessor Jill Heims on March 7 submitted her letter of resignation. Heims resigned from her position and accepted the chief deputy assessor position in Johnson County, with the resignation effective April 13. The Conference Board also approved setting an amount for negotiations between Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Hamerlinck and the candidate be set to not exceed $95,000.

Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker stated the candidate approved by the Conference Board has been in the business for about 10 years, having worked previously as a county assessor. He worked in a city assessor office and another county assessor office. He stated Heims was in the business longer but had gotten to the position of deputy assessor prior to being named Clinton County assessor.

Hamerlinck stated legal counsel advised the county they must offer the position to Heims prior to offering the position to the candidate approved by the Conference Board at the rate agreed upon between the county and the candidate.

"As a caveat to this our HR (Human Resources) director (Dawn Aldridge) has already contacted our legal representative, Amy Reasner," Hamerlinck stated. "She's on retainer for HR. Seeing that Jill Heims was not given an increased salary above $79,402. Any amount that is approved by this board to candidate C for negotiation then has to be offered back to Miss Heims. Miss Heims would have to deny wanting the position before then it could be offered to candidate C."

Hamerlinck stated he believes offering the position back to Heims prior to offering it to the candidate approved by the Conference Board "has to do with gender equality" with the recently approved candidate being a male. Larry Banowetz, representing the school boards on the County Conference Board, cited concern with offering the position to Heims prior to offering it to the new candidate.

"I have a real problem with that to say the least," Banowetz said. "Well, I mean she voluntarily left this position. So whatever the new assessor makes I just have a real problem if we offer the new assessor, let's just throw a number out there at ($85,000), and then Jill (Heims) says she wants to come back. I mean, to me, she made a voluntary thought to leave."

The Clinton County Examining Board on April 13 met and interviewed three candidates for the Clinton County assessor position. The Examining Board, after conducting the interviews and examining all submitted information, made a unanimous choice to hire the unnamed candidate. The candidate requested the application be kept confidential.

This Week's Circulars