SAGUACHE— Deciding to forego a rehiring process and interview of new candidates for county administrator, Saguache County Commissioners voted unanimously to hire Glen Simpson of South Fork to fill the position Tuesday and approved Simpson’s annual salary at $68,600.
Commissioner Jason Anderson founded the decision on the fact that former County Administrator David Bitler was still within his probationary period when he resigned, and the county is not required to renew a search when the hiring process was not complete. Nothing in either state law or county regulations supports this decision.
Simpson will be on probation for six months versus the previous 90-day probation period, the commission decided.
Both Simpson and Bitler were finalists for the position last August. Simpson was approached following Bitler’s resignation to see if he was still interested in the job and he was. During his interview in December 2018, Simpson demonstrated his strong background in budgetary matters and financial concerns.
He reported that he has a total of 45 years’ experience in both the military and as the chief financial officer for a private firm. He advised commissioners that their handling of finances is 15-20 years behind the times when compared to methods used by Alamosa and Rio Grande counties.
On Tuesday following Simpson’s approval as administrator, Commissioner Jason Anderson told Simpson that when the BoCC hired Bitler, he believed they overlooked some things. “We were so grateful to have an administrator and we had a long list of tasks,” Anderson said. “We didn’t give him enough training time, time to learn his job.”
There were just too many things on his plate, Anderson continued, including learning state laws and county regulations, transportation laws and many other things. He offered Simpson a “smaller plate” and more time to learn.
Simpson thanked Anderson and told him he appreciated the opportunity to take more time to learn and start with a smaller plate. He noted that he wasn’t there when Bitler was administrator and didn’t know what the problems were but indicated he would start with a clean slate.
“I can help you in the financial area— there are so many sub-financials in this county. I am enthusiastic about learning why you are doing things, what you are doing and where the money is going.” He offered to track credit card activity and to check for fraud and abuse of any kind, because, “Things can go so wrong in an instant.”
He reminded the commission that the kind of financial work he has done in the past especially equips him for this type of investigating and cited his long experience with government regulations.
Commissioner Jason Anderson told him to make sure he takes time to sit down with elected officials and department head. Commissioner Tim Lovato encouraged Simpson to brainstorm with elected officials and department heads on a quarterly basis.
Simpson begins his duties this week.