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Auditor’s husband loses county job; George Johnson’s information services manager position cut

As former chairman of the Board of Freeholders, George Johnson played a large role in writing the county charter. And his wife, Auditor Milene Henley, maintains control of the county’s purse strings.

But it turns out not even Johnson is immune to the county’s financial woes.

Johnson, manager of the county information services department, found himself out of a job when his position was eliminated Aug. 24.

According to David Kelly, the county’s deputy director of administration, who oversees information services, eliminating Johnson’s position was mostly a matter of dollars and sense.

“It’s largely a budget issue,” Kelly said. “We’re looking for ways to save money and still get things done efficiently.”

Kelly joined the county in May. He succeeded Adina Cunningham, who left to become Friday Harbor town attorney following the appointment of Don Eaton as judge of the San Juan County Superior Court.

As information manager, Johnson supervised three full-time employees and one part-time position, and a budget in 2009 that totaled roughly $586,000.

A message left at his home Friday was not immediately returned.

Kelly said the goal of the administrative team is to have all departments, including Public Works, interconnected and operating under a single system in the area of information and technology. Public Works, he noted, has its own information manager and an assortment of unique information systems.

“That’s what we’re working towards, but we’re not there yet,” he said of bringing all departments together.

Like most managers, Johnson was at an “at-will” employee who worked for the county under contract. Termination of his position was effective immediately, Kelly said.

Even before his stint as an elected member of the Board of Freeholders, Johnson had a long and successful track record of public service.

Johnson served two terms — 12 years in all — as an elected member of the San Juan County Public Hospital District Commission, which oversees Inter Island Medical Center and San Juan EMS.

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