Longtime Lucas County Administrator Edward Ciecka has been forced out of his job, the first major personnel change since a dramatic shift in the board of commissioners one year ago.
Commissioner Maggie Thurber said yesterday Mr. Ciecka is the “victim” of a board that added two members last year.
“It s very difficult when you re trying to serve three bosses who are very different individuals and have different management styles. ... It s a very delicate balance. I think it was easier under the previous board because of how that board handled business.”
Mr. Ciecka, 54, has been county administrator since 1984 and has worked for the commissioners since he was hired as an assistant administrator in 1979. His power is second only to the commissioners in carrying out the wide-ranging business of county government.
He said he will submit a letter of resignation to the commissioners Monday but doesn t plan to leave until March.
He would not comment on whether he was being forced to leave, but said 20 years is a long tenure for a county administrator because administrators serve at the will of a political board.
“We ve had a lot of change in the past year, not the least of which is that we ve had two new board members. .. It s probably time for a fresh perspective - maybe a change in leadership will help the county out,” Mr. Ciecka said.
Harry Barlos, president of the commissioners, met with Mr. Ciecka yesterday to talk about his leaving. He said Mr. Ciecka is “not necessarily a casualty” of the new board that added Ms. Thurber and Tina Skeldon Wozniak at the beginning of 2003. But he acknowledged that the “dynamics” of the new board played a role.
“After the first year of the [new] board, it became clear that he s had 20 good years as county administrator and he understands it s time to seek other opportunities,” Mr. Barlos said. “He can take his wealth of skills to another public agency or to the private sector. I wish him well.”
Ms. Wozniak said Mr. Ciecka has been a dedicated public servant who has provided “great service to the community.” She said that “change is inevitable” in county government.
She said the commissioners are trying to make decisions that will best serve the community.
“I think you ve seen a lot of questioning over the last year in county government. A lot of things are being addressed and that will continue to happen,” Ms. Wozniak said.
Mr. Ciecka is paid about $93,000 a year. The commissioners have not formally decided who will replace him.
John Alexander, the commissioners chief of staff, is a possible replacement. Mr. Barlos said Mr. Alexander, who served as chief of staff in former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner s administration, will have “more responsibilities if selected.”
Mr. Alexander said it would be up to the commissioners if he were to replace Mr. Ciecka as administrator.
“I have had no formal discussions with the commissioners about my future role with the commissioners,” he said. “I would anticipate, in light of Ed leaving, that those formal discussions may be forthcoming.”
Mr. Ciecka, a Chicago native, graduated from DePaul University and earned a master s degree in political science from the University of Toledo.