Lake County Board may rehire retired official as interim administrator

  • Gary Gibson is in line to be appointed interim Lake County administrator next week. He served in the same role nearly 20 years ago.

    Gary Gibson is in line to be appointed interim Lake County administrator next week. He served in the same role nearly 20 years ago.

  • Lake County Administrator Bill Panos, shown here on his first day at work in July, announced he's quitting, effective next week.

    Lake County Administrator Bill Panos, shown here on his first day at work in July, announced he's quitting, effective next week. Courtesy of Lake County

  • Lake County Administrator Bill Panos recently resigned.

    Lake County Administrator Bill Panos recently resigned.

 
 
Updated 9/5/2019 4:02 PM

A former Lake County official likely will be tapped to serve as interim administrator while the county board searches for a more permanent appointee.

Gary Gibson, who served as assistant administrator from 1993 to 2008, is being eyed for the job. He also worked as assistant manager, and then manager, for the county's workforce investment board from 2008 to 2017, and in other governmental roles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The personnel move is needed because Administrator Bill Panos is departing Tuesday, about two months into his tenure.

Panos quit to be director of North Dakota's Department of Transportation.

Officials will publicly discuss Panos' departure and Gibson's possible return during a committee-of-the-whole meeting set for 8:30 a.m. Friday at the central permit facility, 500 W Winchester Road, Libertyville.

The board could rehire Gibson when it meets Tuesday morning at the county government center in Waukegan. He'd start Wednesday.

"Interim county administrator" is a familiar role for Gibson. He served in that capacity for five months nearly 20 years ago, too.

"Gary has a wealth of experience working in Lake County government," said board Chairwoman Sandy Hart, a Lake Bluff Democrat. "After speaking with Gary and several members of the board, I am confident that he will again be an asset to Lake County."

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Board member Steve Carlson worked closely with Gibson on numerous issues during his previous tenure as a county employee and called him an excellent choice for the job.

"He is able, steady (and) unflappable, and he knows Lake County and the structure and history of county government," said Carlson, a Gurnee-area Republican.

Panos is among several top Lake County staffers who've resigned in the past year. They include his predecessor, Barry Burton, who departed in October 2018; several assistant or deputy administrators; and two communications directors.

Gibson's experience will be valuable because of that turnover, board member Judy Martini said.

"With the recent numerous personnel and department head changes, I believe that someone at the helm with Lake County government experience is paramount to help guide the board during these tough transitional times," said Martini, a Fox Lake Republican.

The county board is using a Northbrook recruiting firm called GovHR USA to find its next administrator. A time frame wasn't available.

In an email to board members that was shared with the Daily Herald, Hart noted Panos' contract included a nondisparagement agreement.

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