Hansen addresses future with county

POLK COUNTY — County Administrator Greg Hansen will officially retire this summer, but he won’t leave right away.

Hansen said expected changes in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System that could affect him financially are driving his decision to retire. He met with a PERS representative Tuesday afternoon to discuss his options and will retire in August or September. He will work full-time under a contract for the rest of the year.

Hansen presented the Polk County Board of Commissioners three options for what could happen in 2018.

One choice had him leaving at the end of 2017. Another pushed his end date to around June 30, 2018. No one on the board liked those options.

His second option was to work on a potentially long-term contract, but limited to an average of 24 hours per week to stay under the PERS-mandated 1,039-hour limitation for retirees. He suggested a three- to five-year contract. “I would not be proposing this option if I were not confident with the current expertise/talent of our existing department heads,” he said.

Hansen said the county has ballot measures to renew the public safety levy, to bring in money for Polk County Courthouse maintenance and to create a Polk County Fair district on tap in the coming years. Also, he expects retirements in leadership posts around the county in two to four years.

Hansen said he would like to stay on to help the county through those transitions.

The contract option would save the county $60,000 to $100,000 per year. Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler said the only viable option in her opinion is a part-time contract.

“I highly respect that he put the county first in this situation because he certainly didn’t have to,” she said. “I would like him to be here as long as he possibly can.”

Commissioners Mike Ainsworth and Craig Pope agreed. The board asked Hansen to draft agreements for the rest of this year and the longer-term contract.

After working for the county for more than 30 years, Hansen said planning for retirement felt strange.

“It was a weird memo to write and even weirder to talk about this morning,” Hansen said Tuesday.

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