County fills vacant leadership roles

County fills several vacant leadership roles with familiar faces.

CLAY COUNTY — Vacant senior leadership positions in county administrative staff were filled. Several of the employees are familiar faces to some as they previously held similar positions in the county.

Former Director of Facilities Management Donna Koontz is now deputy administrator of facilities.

“Prior to 2016, Koontz held this post and she will be returning to oversee the position, which now handles the physical maintenance and oversight of all Clay County facilities including Parks and Historical Sites,” states a county release. “Her management and team-building skills will be a welcome addition to the administration.”

Karl Walters returned to county employment as well, assuming the position of deputy administrator of operations.

“Walters’ previous work as the head of the Clay County Highway Department makes him a natural choice to improve efficiency and lead the county’s operational processes moving forward,” states the release.

Former Director of Information Technology Kevin Shaw also returned, assuming the same role he once held. “Previously with the county for over seven years, Shaw will be leading the county’s technology department, bringing his IT management and development experience to an increasingly important area of county government,” states the release.

The news comes months after severance agreements with six of the county’s former senior employees, including all three former assistant county administrators were reached, bringing their often tumultuous employment to an end. Settlements went to Melissa Mohler, tourism and project development manager; Brad Garrett, assistant county administrator for facilities; Laurie Portwood, assistant county administrator for finance; Nicole Brown, assistant county administrator for public services; Human Resources Manager D'On Walker; and Nikki Thorn, public relations and events manager.

Within their separation agreements, the former employees listed claims of civil rights violations as well as being subject to a hostile workplace, gender discrimination and retaliation while employed. The severance agreements cost county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

New deputy administrators and Shaw report to new County Administrator Tom Salisbury. Salisbury came to the county from previous service in regional administration with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additionally, Kevin Graham, a local attorney and Liberty councilman, rejoined the county administration team as legal counsel. Graham previously served in the same position in years past.

“Clay County is pleased to announce the return of these highly skilled and experienced individuals into its senior staff. The commitment of these individuals and their years of dedicated service are a welcome addition to the new Clay County Administration,” states the release.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at or 903-6001.

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