Commissioners expected to vote on county administrator candidate Monday

·2 min read

Sep. 17—Robert Sivick said he is very impressed with Whitfield County government and with the members of the county Board of Commissioners.

"I've worked in local government management in three states — in Nebraska, Oregon and, most recently, in Wisconsin — and what impressed me about Whitfield County was the makeup of the Board of Commissioners," he said. "They are people who are engaged. They are exhibiting leadership. They have a sense of direction."

The commissioners named Sivick the sole finalist for county administrator on Sept. 6. They are scheduled to vote to confirm him Monday at noon in the large conference room on the fifth floor of the Wells Fargo building at 201 S. Hamilton St.

Most recently, Sivick served almost four years as county administrator of Waushara County, Wisconsin. Prior to that, he served as city manager of Willamina, Oregon; city attorney of Grand Island, Nebraska; village attorney of Greeley Center, Nebraska; and county attorney, county manager and personnel director of Howard County, Nebraska. He also served on the City Council of Omaha, Nebraska.

"We really had some really outstanding candidates," said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen. "But what set him apart was his experience — serving as a county administrator, a city manager, as well as a background as city attorney and before that as an attorney in private practice. He had a pretty diverse background."

Sivick has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in Pennsylvania and a law degree from Creighton University in Nebraska.

Former county administrator Mark Gibson stepped down in July to become chief operations officer for Whitfield County Schools. Gibson had been county administrator since January 2011.

The county commissioners named County Engineer Kent Benson interim administrator. Benson continues to serve as county engineer while serving as interim administrator.

If confirmed on Monday, Sivick is expected to start work on Friday.

Commissioner Barry Robbins said he expects Sivick will hit the ground running.

"He's got the management experience," he said. "He's used to working with elected officials. In his previous jobs, he has served on a number of different boards, so he should be able to start moving on things quickly."

Sivick said he and the commissioners share a similar vision.

"You can increase the quantity and quality of services while holding the line or even reducing the burden on taxpayers," he said. "That's not always the approach for local governments. In a lot of local governments, it's about maintaining the status quo and doing what you need to do to get by."

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