BALDWIN — This week, the Lake County Board of Commissioners selected one candidate out of three finalists to fill the seat of county administrator, a position which has been vacant for more than 20 years.

Kris Tucker, a financial expert from New Hampshire, accepted the offer on Aug. 26, at a salary of $75,000 per year.

"His job is to help with the running of the county," explained commissioner Dan Sloan. "We fully expect the new county administrator to save the county the cost of his salary within the first year."

The job of the county administrator is to assist the part-time commissioners with running the county, primarily handling subjects such as budgeting and employee issues. The position has been left unfilled for the last 20 years and the responsibilities were handled by the county Chief Financial Officer, a title which is currently held by Shelly Myers.

"The county has grown to the point where it is no longer a part-time job, and our current CFO has her hands full as it is," said said Commission Chair Karl Walls.

Tucker grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from the University of New Hampshire where his studies included government science, environmental science, tech writing and cultural anthropology. He has worked primarily in the fields of finance, real estate and environmental protection.

"When we were interviewing him, Tucker made a great impression," said Walls. "His answers to our questions were insightful and professional. We liked his skills with technology and his interest in education, as well as his background with finances and ecology. He also had a lot of experience negotiating with employees before an issue became a problem."

Tucker said he prides himself on his communication and management skills, stated he places a high regard on learning, describes himself as a generalist who likes to have a strong understanding of how everything works and likes to "wear a lot of hats," whereever he works.

"If a day goes by where I don't learn something, I have to look back and ask myself why," remarked Tucker.

Tucker said he is not sure how long he plans to stay in this new position, but stated it would be no less than three years so he can get a solid understanding of the community and the county government.

He didn't want to state any direct goals for the county until he gets better acclimated, but his immediate objectives are to get to know the county and its employees, ensure he has strong communication and consensus among those employees and build a non-toxic workplace.

Lake County CFO Shelly Myers expressed her confidence in Tucker. However, following the county commission meeting on Aug. 20, she voiced concern as to whether the county can afford to pay for the position.

"They're going to pay a county administrator $70,000 a year to a do a job I've been doing for $8,000," said Myers. "I don't think we should be paying for a county administrator unless the administrator seeks grants to help pay for the position."