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Administrator applicants don't thrill everyone

CLEARWATER — The husband of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is among four finalists for the job of Pinellas County administrator.

But, with the field winnowed from an initial group of 53 applicants, two commissioners said they were less than thrilled by any of the final picks.

Commissioners Susan Latvala and Karen Seel both said they were unimpressed by the entire 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.

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

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

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.

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

Commission Chairman Bob Stewart 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.

The winner, to be selected in August, would replace Steve Spratt, who resigned in September. Marquis, a former and long-serving Pinellas administrator, is serving as interim administrator.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Will Van Sant can be reached at vansant@sptimes.com or 445-4166.

Administrator applicants don't thrill everyone 07/01/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 12:42pm]
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