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DeSalvo picked for Delta County administrator post

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Emily DeSalvo participates in a job interview for the position of county administrator last month. After the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ first choice for the position of county administrator declined a salary offer, DeSalvo — the other finalist for the position — has been chosen to serve in this capacity.

ESCANABA — After the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ first choice for the position of county administrator declined a salary offer, Emily DeSalvo — the other finalist for the position — has been chosen for the position. The board made the decision during a special meeting Thursday.

DeSalvo has served as district court administrator/ magistrate/ probation director for Delta County since April 2013. She also worked as an adult probation officer in the county’s district court from August 2012 to April 2013; before then, she worked as a supervisor of probation/special programs in Kendall County, Ill., from February 2009 to January 2012 and as an adult probation officer in DeKalb County, Ill., from May 2007 to February 2009. DeSalvo received a master of arts degree in sociology — criminology from Northern Illinois University in August 2011 and a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice/psychology from Northern Michigan University in May 2006.

The board chose Michael Silverman of Caro, Mich. to serve as Delta County’s administrator last week. In a Nov. 1 meeting of the county’s finance committee, interim County Administrator Tom Sabor was directed to offer Silverman a salary of $89,000 with a ceiling of $90,000. Silverman made a counter offer of $98,000.

During a Delta County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, members of the board agreed to offer Silverman a starting salary of $92,000. This would have increased by $3,000 after Silverman reached the three-month and six-month marks in the position of county administrator.

Sabor approached Silverman with the new offer after Tuesday’s meeting. However, Silverman declined the offer and withdrew his name.

“He (said) he wants to stay put for the time being,” Sabor said.

Sabor and members of the Delta County Board of Commissioners discussed the county’s possible next steps at yesterday’s meeting.

“In my mind, you got three options,” Sabor said.

These options included re-opening the search for county administrator candidates, re-interviewing existing candidates for the position and offering the position to DeSalvo. Board Chair Patrick Johnson voiced his support of the third option.

“I’m comfortable with Emily — she was our second choice, and as long as she’s comfortable, that’s up to her. Ball’s in her court, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

While he was also “fairly comfortable” with the idea of hiring DeSalvo, Commissioner David Rivard expressed some reservations.

“I am a little mixed on that,” he said.

Sabor said Silverman, like DeSalvo, would have had to learn about accounting on the job.

“Technically, Michael may have had a little more budgeting experience … but you would still have that same issue, probably, with Michael,” he said.

He also noted DeSalvo offered some unique advantages, including her knowledge of Delta County and her positive relationships with county employees.

Furthermore, Sabor said he — as well as former county administrators Philip Strom and Ryan Bergman — would be able to provide assistance to DeSalvo.

“If this does happen, they’re also willing to help out, as well,” he said.

With these factors in mind, Rivard said he would be okay with DeSalvo becoming Delta County’s next administrator.

“The important thing is she’s got the ability to pick it up,” he said regarding the financial skills associated with the job.

A motion to offer the position of county administrator to DeSalvo was unanimously approved. The board also voted to offer DeSalvo a base salary of $90,000 and the same benefit package offered to Silverman, with potential bonuses contingent on DeSalvo continuing her education towards a master’s degree in public administration.

After the meeting, Sabor said that — while the job will involve a learning curve for DeSalvo — he believes she will be able to successfully adapt.

“I feel confident — she’s going to have a lot of support,” he said.

Johnson was pleased to see Delta County get close to filling the county administrator position.

“It’s one step closer to letting Tom go into the sunset,” he said.

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