Henessee Resigns; LeFebvre To Be Interim Administrator
In response to a surprise e-mail sent by County Administrator Shawn Henessee on Monday, Dec. 19 announcing his resignation effective on Jan. 27, Marinette County Board will hold a special meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28. Supervisors are expected to approve unanimous Executive Committee recommendations to name Land Information Director John LeFebvre as interim administrator effective Jan. 2, 2017, and to end Henessee's active work for the county on Dec. 20.
Those recommendations were made by the 12-member Executive Committee at an emergency meeting held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, following the regular monthly full board meeting earlier in the day.
Henessee is to receive full pay and benefits through his Jan. 27 resignation date. Henessee told reporters he has accepted a position with a county near Kansas City, Mo., and will be moving there. According to other media sources he had been one of four finalists for a post in Minnesota, but did not attend that final interview.
His resignation comes only a year and a half after he started work for Marinette County, and four months after his contract was renewed for another three years following several Executive Committee closed door negotiating sessions.
According to Board Chair Mark Anderson the approved contract allowed Henessee to resign with 30 days' advance notice.
Henessee's resignation e-mail was sent Monday morning, Dec. 19, to all County Board supervisors and all department heads.
The only mentions of it at the 9 a.m. regular monthly County Board meeting were in the form of a summary of pending projects that Henessee presented, along with expressed hopes that progress on them will continue, and brief farewell comments by him and Anderson at the end of the meeting.
"Shawn, I'd like to thank you for serving Marinette County," Anderson said as the meeting drew to a close. "I know we've had some disagreements over time...I hope that didn't have an impact in regards to the reason that you are leaving."
He added, "I feel that has all been worked out and we have been working well together...I wish you very good luck in the future and wish the best for you and your family." The comments drew much applause from the board.
"I appreciate that," Henessee told the board. "I wish the best to Marinette County and to the employees. There are a lot of possibilities here."
Henessee started work for Marinette County in May of 2015, following a long process to fill a vacancy left by the abrupt resignation of Ellen Sorensen in May of 2014.
Interim Administrator duties during the year-long vacancy were handled by a team consisting of Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison, Human Resources Director Jennifer Holtger and Finance Director Pat Kass. Each was paid $1,500 per month in addition to their regular salary.
Henessee was selected for the $114,000 per year position as the head of Marinette County government from a field of 45 applicants. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan., a Master of Arts in Political Science from University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., plus 42 graduate hours in urban planning, and completed a Juris Doctor degree from University of Missouri in Kansas City, Mo. in 2001.
He had worked part time as an associate attorney for Stephen J. Moore P.C. while handling his duties as assistant director in the Recorder of Deeds office in Jackson County. He also had worked independently on a part time basis as Henessee and Associates as an attorney and international trade advisor, giving legal advice on international trade and development issues, applying for and receiving federal trade agreement grants, advising clients on business operations in Turkey, New Zealand and Ireland, drafting legal documents for clients and advising them of their rights and obligations, and doing research on applicable foreign law requirements for trade and investment opportunities.
In an interview after his final Marinette County Board meeting board Henessee said his new position was one of several good opportunities he had been offered, and gives him an opportunity to move back to the area he came from . "I had interviews all across the country," he said.
He said Marinette County has many very good department heads, and added, "I feel many people under value the quality of its work force."
Before the hour long closed door Executive Committee discussion started, Anderson expressed hope they could agree on one person to handle the interim administrator duties, and also that County Board will use the time to make a detailed evaluation of the job duties, and take a good look at alternative forms of county government that are available to Marinette County. One of the suggestions had been to select an Administrative Coordinator form of government, which Oconto County has, rather than the County Administrator model.
Previously Anderson had proposed that Marinette County Board should do some strategic planning and goal setting in the very near future.
He suggested it would be nice to find someone local or even internal who could step in to the county's most important job.
Anderson expressed thanks to Henessee for the time he spent solidifying things here, and said again that he is leaving on a good footing.
Henessee was not present for the afternoon's Executive Committee meeting, nor did he attend the Dutch Treat Christmas lunch for supervisors and other county officials.
About half a dozen supervisors in addition to Executive Committee members were present for the closed session discussions, along with Mattison, Holtger and Kass. Briefly shortly before the committee returned to open session Mattison, Anderson and County Board Vice Chair left the meeting room to go to offices upstairs, perhaps to solidify wording of motions the committee would approve.
The meeting on Tuesday was the first County Board session in many months for Supervisor Mike Behnke of Peshtigo, who went through long treatments for a back injury. He chairs the Buildings and Properties committee and is a member of the Executive Committee.
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