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May 19, 2020

No. 2 county job draws significant interest

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
The deputy county administrator’s position pays $112,590 to $186,856 annually, according to Fauquier’s salary scale.
We do not have a set hiring date. We will need to set up and conduct interviews, and I expect that process to take a couple of weeks.
— County Administrator Paul S. McCulla
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
In a flood of interest, 67 people have applied for the vacant Fauquier deputy county administrator’s post.

Job candidates had until Wednesday, May 13, to apply. The position pays $112,590 to $186,856 annually, according to Fauquier’s salary scale.

“We do not have a set hiring date,” County Administrator Paul S. McCulla said in an email. “We will need to set up and conduct interviews, and I expect that process to take a couple of weeks.”

The review process could require “a second round of interviews, and then we will need to make an offer,” Mr. McCulla added.

He said it could take “at least a month” to hire a successor to Catherine M. “Katie” Heritage, who resigned on March 5 — about five weeks after Mr. McCulla abruptly placed her on administrative leave without explanation.

Mr. McCulla has refused to explain the decision.

But in a March 5 press release, the county administrator praised his former second-in-command, calling her an “outstanding employee and an excellent leader” who “will be sincerely missed.”

Mrs. Heritage had worked 24 years for Fauquier and earned $156,679 when she quit.

Mr. McCulla has said he prefers to promote county employees, if they represent a “good fit” for a job with greater responsibility.

As of the third week of April, the county administrator said he had mentioned the deputy county administrator’s post to three Fauquier department heads — Human Resources Director Janelle Downes, Management and Budget Director Erin Kozanecki and Fire/Rescue Chief Darren Stevens.

Ms. Downes did not apply for the job but will serve on a five-person committee that will make a recommendation to Mr. McCulla, who will make the final call. Besides Ms. Downes and Mr. McCulla, the panel will include Supervisors Chris Butler (Lee District) and Holder Trumbo (Scott District) and Deputy County Attorney Tracy Gallehr.

Mrs. Kozanecki and Mr. Stevens did not reply Tuesday to emails asking if they applied for the deputy county administrator’s job.

Mr. McCulla said only one county employee applied for the position.

Mrs. Kozanecki, who earns $127,531 annually, joined county government in 2010 as a budget analyst. She got promoted to director in 2013.

Mr. Stevens, who earns $137,929 annually, got promoted to fire/rescue chief in 2016.

Mr. McCulla highly regards both of them.

He believes that ideally the new deputy county administrator should be hired with the “goal” of that person becoming his successor.

That means the board cannot be “uncomfortable” with the new deputy, Mr. McCulla has said.

The 61-year-old county administrator has said he plans to retire in two or three years.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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