New Lake County administrator quits, barely a month into job

  • Lake County Administrator Bill Panos

    Lake County Administrator Bill Panos

Updated 8/16/2019 4:44 PM

Barely a month into his tenure, Lake County's top administrator announced his resignation Friday.

Bill Panos was hired in July. He previously he had been the director of Wyoming's transportation department.


Panos announced his decision to leave Lake County in an email to county board members that was shared with the Daily Herald. He said he's taking a job as director of North Dakota's Department of Transportation and will conclude his service in Lake County Oct. 18.

Panos couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

County board member Adam Didech, a Buffalo Grove Democrat, called Panos' announcement surprising and disappointing.

Likewise, board member Steve Carlson said he was "surprised and concerned."

"We need to get this right," said Carlson, a Gurnee-area Republican.

In his email, Panos thanked the board members for allowing him to serve Lake County.

"I am genuinely grateful to the entire Lake County team that has helped me through my time here," he wrote.

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Panos replaced Barry Burton, who departed as administrator last fall to take a job in Florida.

Panos was among 44 applicants for the job.

The search process will reopen, county officials said in a news release.

Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart couldn't be reached for comment Friday afternoon. In the county's news release, she said officials are confident they'll draw "top talent" to fill the position.

"Lake County is recognized nationally for its good governance and its strong leadership in the public policy arena," Hart said. "We know we will be able to attract a leader with exemplary qualifications who will be able to move Lake County forward."

But board member Dick Barr bemoaned Panos' pending departure as the latest in a series of key administrative personnel changes.

"In less than a year we've lost two county administrators, one acting county administrator, one deputy administrator, one assistant administrator (and) two communications directors," said Barr, a Round Lake Beach Republican. "We need to take a real hard look at our board leadership to identify why we've lost so many high level staffers in such a short time."


An acting county administrator will be named prior to Panos' departure, officials said.

Also Friday, officials announced James D. Hawkins has been named deputy county administrator and Matthew Meyers was named assistant county administrator.

Hawkins has been serving as project manager for the county's 911 consolidation planning project.

Meyers has been serving as interim assistant county administrator since March. He has been the deputy director for the Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department since 2016.

Both are to start in their new roles immediately.

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