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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Iorio's husband as Pinellas administrator?

The husband of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is among four finalists the County Commission named Tuesday to become Pinellas’ permanent administrator.

But some commissioners said they were less than thrilled by their final picks and the field of 11 applicants, winnowed from an initial 53, that they had to choose from.

The final four include Mark Woodard, an assistant county administrator in Pinellas and Iorio’s husband; former Pinellas administrator Robert LaSala, who was most recently city manager in Lancaster, Calif.; Peter Crichton, manager of Cumberland County, Maine and Bruce Loucks, most recently administrator in Charlotte County.

The winner, to be selected in August, would replace Steve Spratt, who resigned in September during fallout from the Jim Smith land deal.

While there are nearly 1 million people in Pinellas, Crichton serves a community of just 270,000, Loucks most recently served one of 160,000 and LaSala, 145,000.

Commissioners Susan Latvala and Karen Seel both said they were unimpressed by the applicant pool. They had hoped the Pinellas administrator slot would be seen as a plum job and attract candidates who had more experience as top managers in large communities.

“There’s a lack of enthusiasm on my part,” Latvala said.

The four are to be invited in for face to face interviews between July 30 and Aug. 1. Latvala and Seel said they were looking forward to those meetings and allowed it was possible that the finalists could win them over in person.

If not, both said they would be willing to postpone a decision and keep looking.

“We’ll keep at this until we get the right one,” Latvala said.

Commission chairman Bob Stewart, however, said he likes what he sees in the finalists and wouldn’t be surprised if there were a winner among them, though he too is unwilling to settle.

Ideally, Stewart said the right candidate would understand the individual needs of commissioners and command the respect of his or her staff. In short, “a young Fred Marquis,” Stewart said.

A former longtime Pinellas administrator, Marquis has been serving as an interim. He’s expected to step down near the end of the year.

Will Van Sant, staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:29am]


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