Lucas County commissioners are expected to appoint a new county administrator at their meeting today.
The new official will likely be a trio of firsts - the first Lucas County administrator from outside the county, and likely the first woman to hold that position, as well as the first African-American.
Laura Lloyd-Jenkins, 38, a native of California, has worked there for the past 11 years for Alameda County.
Peter Ujvagi, who previously held the position of Lucas County administrator, said he cannot recall any time in almost the last 50 years when the administrator was from outside Lucas County. The post was created in 1963, according to Blade archives.
"I think she brings a fresh set of ideas," said Commissioner Pete Gerken.
The administrator is one of the highest-ranking county officials and is charged with carrying out many of the day-to-day duties of overseeing county government.
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins said she is eager to apply her skills to projects such as collaborating with cities and townships and examining ways to "work smarter." Additionally, she said she hopes to bring a better use of new media to the role and promote what the county does through civic engagement.
Among the challenges she will face: containing costs in public safety services as property tax revenue and funds from the state decline.
County officials reshuffled top positions in July and have been searching for a new administrator since then. Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins was selected from more than 100 applicants, officials said. Previously, Mr. Ujvagi filled the role of county administrator, but will now fill a new role looking at long-term issues facing the county such as funding of services, the role of state government, regional cooperation with Toledo and its suburbs, and human services funding, rather than day-to-day management. He had been serving as interim administrator since July.
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins is currently the principal administrative analyst for Alameda County, which is in the San Francisco Bay area. She has held several positions in county government and for the last four years has worked in the office of the county administrator. She holds a bachelor's degree and an MBA from California State University, East Bay.
She is expected to begin her new role Feb. 4. She will earn a salary of about $105,000, said Mr. Gerken, which is in line with what previous administrators have earned. Her husband, an Ohio native, is pastor at Abundant Life Ministries on Parkwood Avenue.
"I think she will work well with our work force, regional leaders, and the public," said Commissioner Carol Contrada.
Alameda County, home to more than 1.5 million people, has an annual budget of more than $2 billion. Large cities in Alameda County include Oakland and Berkeley.
In contrast, Lucas County's population is about 440,000 people, according to the most recent Census data. The 2013 budget county commissioners are expected to pass today will be about $567 million.
However, Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins said there are many similarities between the two counties. Both have a similar government structure, with elected row offices, elected commissioners (known in Alameda as supervisors) and a county administrator. Additionally, both are urban counties and both are facing declining state, federal and local resources.
"We have some of the same problems," she said.
However, some things about Lucas County will be an adjustment, she said.
"My biggest concern is the snow," she joked.
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