After their initial effort to find a new township administrator fell short, Jackson Township trustees will get some assistance from an executive search firm.

The township has engaged the Columbus-based McIntyre Global Executive Search firm, said trustee Steve Bowshier, who is heading up the administrator search.

"When we weren't able to come to a consensus after interviewing our first set of candidates, we decided it would be best to get some outside help," Bowshier said.

Last month, the township interviewed two finalists for the administrator position, which has been vacant since Mike Lilly's retirement in December.

Those finalists were former Franklin County Recorder Daphne Hawk, who also previously served one year as a township trustee; and J.P. Blackwood, a legislative and public affairs specialist with the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, who previously served as a program manager/public information officer/human resources generalist with the city of Columbus.

The trustees' goal was to come to an unanimous decision on an administrator, trustee chairman Dave Burris said.

"One of the last pieces of advice Mike gave us before he left was that the new administrator should be an unanimous choice of the trustees, because it would be easier for a new person to start knowing they had the support of all three trustees," Burris said.

Both candidates were strong, but it was not possible for all three trustees to agree on one choice, he said.

The township looked at six initial applicants for the position earlier this year, narrowed the list to three and then to the two finalists, Burris said.

"We'll be talking with the executive search firm (the week of April 16) to give them an idea of what we're looking for in an administrator -- the education, experience and attributes," he said.

While the firm will assist the township with recruiting a slate of applicants, the trustees will conduct the final interviews and make the selection, Burris said.

"I think we will be able to find a candidate that all three of us can agree on," he said. "We'd like to get this wrapped up in the next two or three months.

"What we'd like to do is find a clone of Mike Lilly, but that's not possible," Burris said.

Lilly served a quarter-century as township administrator.

Township staff have been filling the duties that an administrator normally would complete, Bowshier said.

"Our staff has really stepped up," Burris said.

The administrator's role is especially important in the areas of zoning and budget, he said.

"The administrator really stands in for and represents the trustees on a daily basis, since we can't be there in the township office each day," Burris said.