ALPENA - The Alpena County Board of Commissioners filled three vacant positions during it monthly meeting on Thursday.
The commissioners voted to hire John Hippensteele of Calhoun County to be the new equalization director and Robin Hubbard as a clerical assistant. With those to vacancies filled the board moved into discussion on what path to take to replace 911 Director/Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Szor, who notified the county of his intent to retire effective June 1, but has continued in the role on a series of contracts to help the county through the search for his replacement.
Commissioners Mark Hall and Gerald Fournier each proposed a plan to the board that would buy the county more time to possibly hire a candidate who isn't available to assume duties until Dec. 5. Hall recommended the commissioners insert the county's lead dispatcher, Mark Gruisko, into the position until April 1 and at that time decide if he can prove to the county he can handle the challenges the job presents and consider him for the position.
Gruisko previously was interviewed for the position, but was not selected to be a finalist. Hall said this would allow him a chance to get settled and have a fair period of time to prove himself.
"He was an internal candidate who interviewed well, but the committee at that time thought we should expand our search," Hall said. "We would expand his responsibility into an operation role and retain the human resource part of it in the personnel committee's hands. We could see if he can develop into what we are looking for.'
Founier said because Gruisko wasn't considered the first time for the position he believed it would be better to put someone into Szor's position temporarily and offer the job to the candidate from Nebraska.
"I think it would be unfair to him to go into this position and think it is eventually going to be offered to him. I would not do that because we had already said no two vettings ago," Founier said. "The other candidate is highly qualified; we have no problems with him. It was only the Dec. 5 deadline and I think we would be doing this young man a disservice to tell him to move into this job, because as I'm concerned he interviewed for it and was not offered it."
The commissioners voted to go with Hall's recommendation by a 7-1 vote with Founier being the only no vote.
In other county business:
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.