Douglas County Commission to discuss filling county administrator position; may create moratorium on rural subdivisions

photo by: Chris Conde

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured in September 2018.

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday will continue discussing their plans for hiring a new county administrator, but it’s not yet clear what those plans are.

The commission did not provide any background information on the subject in its meeting agenda, even though a majority of the commissioners said last week that they would support hiring interim county administrator Sarah Plinsky for the permanent position without conducting a search first.

When asked on Tuesday about what might be discussed at the meeting, commission chair Michelle Derusseau said the commissioners are going to “continue discussing what we are looking for in a county administrator and discuss how we want to proceed.”

Plinsky has been serving as the interim county administrator since December, when the previous administrator, Craig Weinaug, retired after working for the county for 26 years. When Weinaug left the position, he said the county would conduct a search to find his replacement.

But last week, Derusseau and Commissioner Nancy Thellman said they wanted to hire Plinsky without a search.

“I think we have the person we need sitting within our midst,” Thellman said of Plinsky.

Derusseau said last week that Plinsky would be a good fit for the position because of her institutional knowledge and her relationships with many stakeholders throughout the county.

However, in the interest of transparency, Commissioner Patrick Kelly said he would like to give the public an opportunity to speak on the matter during the meeting on Wednesday. He said the county needs to do its due diligence by allowing county residents to discuss the hiring process and what they want in a new administrator.

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In other business, commissioners will consider putting a six-month halt to the subdivision of large, rural parcels of land into smaller residential lots.

During the commission’s meeting last week, zoning director Tonya Voigt said there had been a dramatic increase in applications to develop residential property in the rural parts of the county. She asked the commissioners to consider a temporary moratorium on processing of those applications until new zoning regulations are installed.

Voigt told the commission that some rural residents suggested the regulations are too lax and the county needs to make changes to ensure it protects a distinction between rural and urban areas, which is a goal in the county’s comprehensive plan.

After hearing from Voigt and rural residents last week, all three commissioners expressed support for the moratorium.

Additionally, prior to the meeting, the commissioners will hold a work session to discuss a plan to create an Urban Growth Area around Eudora’s city limits. The area would be a designated location where the county and the city would prefer development in unincorporated areas around Eudora.

The commission will hold its work session at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., and the regular meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Full agendas are available online at

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