BROOKSVILLE — Recruiter Colin Baenziger wanted to be clear that Hernando's next county administrator had better be ready for a challenge.
"Hernando County is seeking a strong, energetic, dedicated, proactive, achievement-oriented and steady leader with strong values, a sense of humor and the skin of an alligator,'' was the description Baenziger included in his company's recruitment brochure.
The pitch did the trick.
By the midnight deadline Friday, 88 applicants had stepped forward, seeking the job and the $120,000 to $150,000 salary that goes with it. Twenty-four people applied in the last 36 hours of the search.
The list includes one in-house candidate, Russell Wetherington, chief procurement officer for the county, and one former county employee, Robert "Mike" Herr, who served as deputy county administrator from 1987 to 1992 and who is currently president of an engineering and surveying firm.
Numerous applicants listed as their most recent employment jobs as city or town managers in communities ranging from Oviedo and Sarasota in Florida, to Needles in California and Windsor in Vermont.
Other applicants listed an array of government, military, private business, public service and clerical experience.
A short list will be chosen in the coming weeks after references have been checked and backgrounds examined.
"I'm pretty sure we're going to wind up with at least five good candidates,'' said Cheryl Marsden, the county's administrative services director. "And hopefully one of them will be our new county administrator.''
The county leadership team is slated to meet with the finalists on the afternoon of April 3, and the public and community leaders will attend a reception at 5 p.m. that day at the Hernando County Airport office.
County commissioners will meet individually with each finalist on the morning of April 4, with formal public interviews before the County Commission that afternoon.
The commission is expected to fill the job by April 10. The new administrator, who will be the ninth the county has employed since 1990, will replace David Hamilton, whom commissioners fired in November, saying they had lost faith in him.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1434.