Community

Kitsap County nears choice on administrative services director

Kitsap County is behind schedule in the hiring of a new Administrative Services director, but personnel officials hope to make the final decision in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, the county has found that the budget evisceration begun last year will continue for the foreseeable future.

The position, which oversees and develops the yearly budget, is still being filled by the retiring Ben Holland.

Currently on vacation, Holland has agreed to stay on until a permanent replacement is selected.

“Ben really wants to retire,” said Kitsap County Administrator Nancy Buonanno Grennan. “But we are in the middle of developing next year’s budget, and are evaluating his status month by month.”

Holland received plaudits for developing the first balanced budget in more than 10 years, but warned that further cuts would be necessary in order to bring spending in line with revenue.

Grennan said the Board of Commissioners will begin budget discussions next week, determining how to cut another 2.2 percent of the total budget.

This year, the discussions will draw input from two citizens’ committees about overall budget and energy use.

“Some of these cuts are no-brainers,” Grennan said. “But they aren’t always easy to implement in a large organization with many levels.”

Grennan said the county will need to find alternative revenue sources to continue certain programs, but bringing a levy lift to voters was not a current option.

“We have done a good job in cutting administrative staff,” Grennan said, “but it’s possible the public will become more aware of service cuts in the future.”

As for Holland’s replacement, Grennan said that three names, two from out of state, had been selected as finalists. The process is currently in the “due diligence” phase, which involves background and reference checks.

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