December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County Children Services board makes offer to head of Allen County department

ELYRIA — The Lorain County Children Services Board is in negotiations with a candidate for the agency’s executive director position.

The position has been offered to Scott Ferris, who is executive director at Allen County Children Services in Lima. LCCS board chairman Bill Harper met with Ferris during a two-hour executive session Wednesday, but Ferris left without making a decision.

“Scott’s interested in being here. We obviously want to negotiate with him, but we have a responsibility to offer an appropriate compensation package,” he said.

Ferris was selected by Waverly Partners LLC, an executive search firm that the LCCS board hired to search for an executive director. Harper said the board provided Waverly Partners with a list of requirements that it wanted in a director, and Waverly Partners reached out to those meeting those requirements.

LCCS hired Waverly Partners in September for $30,000, allocating $5,000 for the potential travel costs of a candidate.

Ferris did not apply for the position, rather he was recommended by Waverly Partners, according to Harper. The board discussed negotiating with Ferris on Wednesday, after a fifth board member — Frank Whitfield — was sworn in.

Harper said the fifth board member was needed to make any decisions, as the board is required to have five members. He said no decisions were made during the interviewing process, which was conducted by Waverly Partners.

Ferris, who is originally from the Cleveland area, graduated from Cleveland State University in 1995 with a master’s in public administration. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marietta College.

Ferris has served as executive director at Allen County Children Services, which serves a population of approximately 106,000, since 2005. Prior to that, he worked for seven years as executive director at the Athens County Children Services Board and two years at the Ashtabula County Children Services Board.

He has worked as a caseworker and investigator at Cuyahoga County Children Services and as a child counselor at the Children’s Aid Society in Cleveland.

Harper said LCCS’s interim executive director, Jane Robertson, had expressed interest in the position, but the board felt that the agency needed someone with more executive director experience.

Robertson has served as executive director at LCCS since May, when the agency’s head, Gary Crow, resigned. She has worked at the agency for 28 years, working as deputy executive director under Crow.

Harper said Ferris had nine years’ experience as executive director in Allen County, as well as experiencing heading levy campaigns.

“His strengths include that he’s done the work at the clinical level, so he understands what that’s about. He’s also been in leadership positions doing the same work in other counties in the state,” he said.

“He’s well respected by his peers. He’s also led Children Services’ levies in the past, and we’re likely to have a levy on the ballot, so that was important.”

Harper said if Ferris turns down the position, the board will restart the recruitment process.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.