Mo. administrator accepts York County manager offer

York County could have a new manager by mid-July after Jim Baker accepted the county's offer Wednesday to take its top position.

The county asked Baker on Tuesday to take the leadership role. After mulling his options -- Baker was the finalist in several other locales -- Baker chose York County.

Baker has been a high-level administrator in St. Louis County, Mo., a county with more than 1 million residents. Before that, he was a county prosecutor. He has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a law degree.

"The Charlotte metro area is an area my wife and I were both interested in," Baker said Wednesday afternoon. "The folks here were very anxious and interested in my being here. I was anxious to be in an area where I could make a difference."

His wife and teenage son will stay in St. Louis County while his son finishes his senior year of high school, Baker said.

He told the county he could start around mid-July, but details have yet to be arranged. The council will vote Monday on a formal contract with Baker.

York County's changing dynamics and challenges appealed to him, Baker said.

"I don't like to do the same thing," Baker said. "I don't want a job where every day is the same as the next."

York County has been running without a manager since December, when Al Greene resigned just before a newly elected council took office. The county manager is the top government official, responsible for some 800 employees and the county's daily operations. Assistant County Manager David Larson has served in the interim.

The council chose not to use an outside firm for the manager search and advertised the job in trade and industry magazines.

Councilmen individually looked at dozens of applications, then got together and shared their top choices. They decided behind closed doors Monday to offer the job to Baker.

"We all came to the conclusion that this guy could basically take us to the next level," said Councilman Paul Lindemann. "He really stood out."