Gary Gibson nominated for Lake County administrator's job

  • Gary Gibson, interim county administrator

    Gary Gibson, interim county administrator Courtesy of Lake County

Updated 1/30/2020 6:50 PM

Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart intends to nominate interim County Administrator Gary Gibson to take the job on a more permanent basis.

Hart publicly announced her pick Thursday afternoon after calling board members to inform them of her choice.


"After numerous discussions with my colleagues, key Lake County staff and our municipal partners across the county, I am confident that Gary is the best person for the position," Hart, a Lake Bluff Democrat, said in a news release.

It'll be up to the board to approve Gibson's appointment. That could happen at its Feb. 11 meeting.

Several board members told the Daily Herald they supported the selection.

"I'm excited to see him continue with us," said board member Paul Frank, a Highland Park Democrat. "He does an excellent job running the county."

Gurnee-area Republican Steve Carlson called Gibson the right choice for the job.

"He knows the county, he knows the people, he knows the issues and he knows the history," Carlson said.

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Gibson, of Lake Bluff, served as an assistant administrator from 1993 to 2008. 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.

Gibson came out of retirement last September to serve as interim administrator after the unexpected resignation of Administrator Bill Panos. Panos quit after only two months to take a state job in North Dakota.

Panos was among several top Lake County staffers who resigned last year or in 2018. They included his predecessor, Barry Burton, and several assistant or deputy administrators.

Gibson was awarded a $210,473 annual salary upon taking the interim job.

The county board hired a Northbrook recruiting firm called GovHR USA to help find the next administrator.

Round Lake Beach Republican Dick Barr praised Gibson's work Thursday, calling him "a fantastic administrator" who strives to keep county business apolitical. But Barr also said he would have liked the chance to interview Gibson before he's nominated for the job to learn his strategies for accomplishing the goals set by the board.

"We haven't had those conversations," Barr said.

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