Smith-Hanes told the Journal
this morning that he has accepted a CAO position in Ellis County, Kansas. If the board of commissioners approves his contract, as expected, at its meeting tonight, Smith-Hanes said he plans to tender his resignation in Humboldt tomorrow morning.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, consequently, is slated to discuss hiring a replacement in closed session
at its meeting tomorrow, and Smith-Hanes said the conversation will likely center on the process moving forward. If all goes according to plan, Smith-Hanes said his last day with Humboldt County will be at the end of January.
The move eastward will represent a homecoming of sorts for Smith-Hanes, who is from Marion County, Kansas, and will allow him to be closer to family. “My dad’s not doing so well at this point, so that’s a big part of it,” Smith-Hanes said, adding that he also likes some of the similarities he sees between Ellis and Humboldt counties, noting that both are small and rural but serve as regional hubs with state universities.
About a decade ago, the county recruited Smith-Hanes to take the position of deputy county administrative officer to serve under CAO Loretta Nickolaus, who retired in December of 2009.
Also in closed session tomorrow, the board is slated to discuss its ongoing work to hire a new director of the county’s Health and Human Services Department. With current Director Phillip Crandall slated to retire Dec. 28, the county appointed a replacement, Kristin Brinks of El Dorado County, last month, but Brinks informed the board Dec. 1 that she was no longer interested
in the position. Planning and Building Director Kevin Hamblin is also slated to retire this month, and the board has tapped Supervising Long-Range Planner Rob Wall to serve as interim director until the board finds Hamblin's replacement.
It looks like Humboldt County Chief Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes will be moving on after six years as the county’s chief staffer.