County Commissioners voted to give the County Administrator a nearly $34,000 annual raise and five more years in his job.
Commissioners voted 5-2 to renew Ed Hunzeker's contract for five years beyond 2014 when the county administrator was set to retire, saying he has provided innovative and effective leadership during his tenure which included the worst economic recession that the county has seen in decades.
County Commissioners who voted for the contract said that they want to continue working with Hunzeker on the county's future growth and the economic recovery.
The two commissioners who voted against the new contract — Michael Gallen and Robin DeSabatino — were concerned about the additional money and benefits included in the contract that are designed to make up for Hunzeker leaving the state's DROP program, designed to offer an incentive to employees who are eligible to retire. By leaving the Deferred Retirement Option Program, he will forfeit a $337,400 lump sum payout on his planned 2014 retirement date.
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Hunzeker was hired as County Administrator in 2007. Since that time, County Government has been reduced by nearly 300 positions and its operating budget has been reduced by $142 million or about 25 percent. Hunzeker reduced the size of government without broad service cuts to the community.
Hunzeker had support from a majority of the commissioners, as well as from most of the people who spoke at the county commission meeting on Tuesday.
“You do not get rid of your leader when your business is doing well,” said Commissioner Betsy Benac. “Good leadership is hard to find and there are not a lot of people around with his experience. Amazing changes have happened here that have made this a customer friendly organization.”