Patrick Bloomingdale, who has served as Douglas County's deputy county administrator for 10 years, is in line to replace his retiring boss in the county's top administrative position.
The Douglas County Board last week decided against a national search to replace Kathleen Kelley. The board also decided not to open the search to applicants from other Douglas County departments.
Instead, only internal candidates within the County Administration Office may apply. Several board members expect Bloomingdale to be the only applicant for Kelley's position.
The board expects to announce the new administrator later this month.
“I'm confident Patrick will do a fine job,” board member Mary Ann Borgeson said.
The board has set a salary range of between $106,942 and $178,237. Kelley is paid $147,500.
Board member P.J. Morgan said the board has a consensus that Bloomingdale is ready to lead the county.
“Patrick is the right person at this time to look to move forward with,” Morgan said.
Bloomingdale, 43, who now makes $86,800, said he wants the job. He joined the county in 1993 as a deputy county attorney in the civil division.
“My goal has always been to be a county administrator since I've been in this office, preferably here,” he said.
Board member Mike Boyle said the board will lean more heavily on Bloomingdale for guidance in the coming months even though Kelley's retirement is about four months away.
“Things won't happen without him being present,” Boyle said. “It's obvious he's going to take over.”
Bloomingdale said he's motivated and excited about the challenge. He said the budget is the top issue facing the county.
Some board members have predicted a property tax increase may be ahead in 2013 unless the county can drastically reduce spending.
The County Board recently hired a consultant to review the Douglas County Health Center's costs. And Gov. Dave Heineman has renewed efforts to abolish the county inheritance tax in Nebraska, which generates about $8 million to $9 million annually for Douglas County.
“When you look at the current situation we are in, the challenges are as great as they ever have been since I've been here,” Bloomingdale said.
Board Chairman Marc Kraft said Bloomingdale is not a “shoo-in” for the job. Kraft said he does not want to discourage others within the office from applying. “Until someone is hired, I don't think it's appropriate to presume anything.”
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