Seven days after relieving County Administrator Clark Schroeder of his duties, the Curry County Board of Commissioners created a new director of operations position and rehired Julie Schmelzer on Wednesday.
The board voted 2-1, Commissioner Sue Gold voting against.
Gold said she originally wanted to discuss the hiring in executive session because she didn’t want to air in public the fact Schmelzer was arrested for DUII and reckless driving, both misdemeanors, in August 2018 in Josephine County. Schmelzer couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Schmelzer will receive an $84,000 salary, compared to Schroeder’s $86,000 salary.
The newly-created position won’t have the same power over commissioners as the administrator did, the board agreed. Schmelzer will supervise all county administrative department offices, except those of elected officials and the county attorney. She will also serve as the department head for community development.
Other duties will include ensuring ordinances, rules and regulations are enforced, keeping the board informed of matters related to operation and management of the county, preparing short- and long-term plans and annual reports, preparing the board agenda and providing intergovernmental relations staff functions for the commissioners.
She will also be responsible for coordinating the activities of various departments and devising ways they can be more cost effective.
As a personnel manager, Schmelzer will, with final approval from the board, recruit, appoint, dismiss and take corrective action of non-elected department directors; prepare their performance evaluations; set their salaries and direct and manage labor relations matters.
Additionally, the position requires her to seek and administer grants and contracts, administer risk management for the county and direct the use of all county property.
Schmelzer, who served as Curry County’s director of administration and economic development from October 2014 to May 2016, has worked in Josephine County for almost three years.
She holds a bachelor of science in urban and regional affairs and a master of public administration, both from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Schmelzer is also internationally certified in business retention and expansion. She has worked in Door, Brown and Calumet counties in Wisconsin, and Curry and Josephine counties in Oregon.
“This is not a personal attack,” Gold said. “I will work with her. I just have to make this known, for my own integrity.”
Commissioner Chris Paasch warned, “Let you who have never sinned throw the first stone.”
County Attorney John Huttl said the county’s insurance company has no problem with Schmelzer being hired with a DUII, and Commissioner Court Boice said Josephine County officials “absolutely hate to see her go.”