Lucas County administrator to blaze trails
- December 18, 2012
Ujvagi’s expected replacement is black, female, not from area
By Kate Giammarise
Toledo Blade Staff Writer
Lucas County commissioners are expected to hire a county administrator today.
The new official likely will be a trio of firsts — the first Lucas County administrator from outside the county, the first woman, and the first African-American.
Laura Lloyd-Jenkins, 38, a California native, has been employed there for the past 11 years by Alameda County.
Peter Ujvagi, previous Lucas County administrator, said he cannot recall a time in almost 50 years when the administrator was from outside Lucas County. The post was created in 1963, according to Blade archives.
“I think she brings a fresh set of ideas,” Commissioner Pete Gerken said.
The administrator is one of the highest-ranking county officials and is charged with carrying out many of the day-to-day duties of overseeing county government.
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins said she is eager to apply her skills to projects such as collaborating with cities and townships and examining ways to “work smarter.” Additionally, she said she hopes to bring a better use of new media to the role and promote what the county does through civic engagement.
Among the challenges she will face: containing costs in public safety services as property tax revenue and state funding declines.
County officials reshuffled top positions in July and have been searching for a new administrator since then. Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins was selected from more than 100 applicants, officials said. Previously, Mr. Ujvagi filled the role of county administrator, but will now be charged with studying long-term issues facing the county such as funding of services, the role of state government, regional cooperation with Toledo and its suburbs, and human services funding, rather than day-to-day management. He had been interim administrator since July.
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins is principal administrative analyst for Alameda County, which is in the San Francisco Bay area. She has held several positions in county government and for the last four years has worked in the office of the county administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from California State University, East Bay.
She is expected to begin her new job Feb. 4 at a salary of about $105,000, said Mr. Gerken, which is in line with what previous administrators have been paid. Her husband, an Ohio native, is pastor at Abundant Life Ministries on Parkwood Avenue.
“I think she will work well with our work force, regional leaders, and the public,” Commissioner Carol Contrada said.
Alameda County, home to more than 1.5 million people, has an annual budget of more than $2 billion. Large cities in Alameda County include Oakland and Berkeley.
In contrast, Lucas County’s population is about 440,000. The 2013 budget that county commissioners are expected to pass today is about $567 million.
However, Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins said there are many similarities between the two counties. Both have a similar government structure, with elected row offices, elected commissioners (known in Alameda as supervisors), and a county administrator. Additionally, both are urban counties and both are facing declining state, federal, and local resources.
“We have some of the same problems,” she said.
However, some things about Lucas County will be an adjustment, she said.
“My biggest concern is the snow,” she joked.