Leelanau News and Events

Commissioners Select Deborah Allen As Next Leelanau County Administrator

By Emily Tyra | Oct. 20, 2022

The Leelanau County board of commissioners voted 7-0 at a special meeting Wednesday to offer Deborah Allen of Elmwood Township the position of Leelanau County administrator. 

Her hire is pending a background check and successful contract negotiations. The salary range for the position is $95,000 to $116,000.

Allen will replace Chet Janik, who is retiring at the end of the year after a decade serving as county administrator.

Allen now works in healthcare philanthropy at Grand Traverse Pavilions as executive director of development and community engagement. She served as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserves and is a trustee for Elmwood Township.

The commissioners also conducted interviews with Suttons Bay’s Patrick Lamb, assistant superintendent of Northwest Education Services in Traverse City; and Karl Fulmer, who works as executive director at a housing redevelopment commission in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Commissioner Rick Robbins said Wednesday that all three finalists brought “enormous talents and strengths.”

Janik asked commissioners to write down the names of the candidate(s) they would like to see in the administrator position, with both Allen and Lamb named five times, and Fulmer named three times.

Commissioner Patricia Soutas-Little noted that Allen has developed strong relationships with key individuals in the county and elsewhere in Michigan. “Her compassion, honesty and integrity gave her the edge,” she said.

Allen was also Commissioner Melinda Lautner’s first choice, based on Allen's current role in township government and her budget, labor, and grant experience.  “She speaks softly, but has strength that I think would be highly respected. She would be approachable.”

She was the only choice for Commissioner Debra Rushton, who calls her “a leader who has character.”

Commissioners Lois Bahle and Gwenne Allgaier initially named Fulmer as their first choice; after discussion the board voted unanimously to offer the position to Allen.

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