BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess announced during the Council’s Tuesday evening Strategic Planning special session, his intention to retire from service with the County this year. County Budget Manager Karen Kendall has also announced her plans to retire this year, Burgess said. Council at the time was discussing an agenda item on succession planning.
Burgess told the Los Alamos Reporter Wednesday morning that his last day on the job will be May 28 and that he will still be on the books for a while as he uses up accrued leave.
“I informed Council of my retirement plans yesterday so that they may have adequate time to conduct a recruitment before I leave. I will remain on the job for another five months, so I am not yet out the door and I anticipate remaining fully engaged during that time frame – we still have our budget to prepare/present during this period, in addition to the daily operational demands,” he said.
Burgess said it has been an honor to work for Los Alamos County for the past 10 years and that he has appreciated all the opportunities the position has afforded him during that time.
“Council will be meeting in the near future to discuss their recruitment plans for the position, and I will be available to support their efforts during the transition as the Council may desire,” he said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Burgess said his employment contract requires him to give two month’s notice and there’s a little bit of a problem with that because that’s the time when he would probably be using his accrued sick leave.
“I know that when I was hired there was a process that from the date that I saw the advertisement until I was physically here was approximately five months and that’s my goal although my contract doesn’t require as much, I wanted to provide some extra time in addition to that pre-retirement leave so that you had an opportunity to consider hiring a replacement as well as potential for some double-filling of that position to keep the position there and to allow for some interaction with myself,” he said.
Burgess said a sub-group of councilors has already had some preliminary discussions with Human Resources Manager Denise Cassell who is retiring this month, about the process and he is anticipating that at the next Council meeting there will be a closed session for Council to have an opportunity to discuss it among themselves.
“It’s not about me this evening, there are other positions that are intending to retire. Another good example is our Budget Manager Karen Kendall has submitted her letter, again to allow us the same opportunity to seek out a replacement in a timely fashion prior to her pre-retirement leave herself,” Burgess said.
Council Chair Randall Ryti said the Council sub-committee did have some discussion and that when Burgess was hired, there was an external search conducted and when Utilities Manager Philo Shelton, it was done “in a little different way”.
“I think that gives everyone a little bit of an idea as to what potential options we’re looking at. I’m sure there are other ones too,” Ryti said.