Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando County's top pick for administrator considers contract offer

BROOKSVILLE — Len Sossamon, the man Hernando County commissioners want as their next administrator, is mulling over a contract proposal he received Thursday from commission Chairman Wayne Dukes.

The proposal offers Sossamon, of North Carolina, an annual salary of $120,000, the bottom of the advertised range, and a severance package of four months, a month less than the previous administrator.

Dukes said Friday he was being realistic with the proposed contract. While Commissioner Jim Adkins had suggested several times that the county should offer the new administrator a salary closer to $100,000 and Dukes said he wasn't opposed to that, the county couldn't offer less than what it had advertised, Dukes said.

In the brochure produced by the county's recruiter, the salary range was listed at $120,000 to $150,000, with a caveat that the board intended to hire at the lower end of the scale.

"That was where I felt comfortable starting at,'' Dukes said of the $120,000 figure.

He said he intended to talk with Sossamon, 61, over the next several days to "feel him out.''

Because of the county's tight budget, the County Commission recently negotiated a lower salary with County Attorney Garth Coller. He and the most recent county administrator, David Hamilton, each had been earning $135,000 a year; Coller's salary is now $122,866.

Dukes said he also wanted to reduce the number of months of severance pay from five to four. The commission got some criticism from the public for Hamilton's five-month buyout package after commissioners fired him in November.

In addition, Dukes dropped from the contract any reference to a county car for the administrator, pointing out that in his final months Hamilton had given up his county car.

Also missing from the proposal to Sossamon is a provision that Hamilton had in his contract for reimbursement for continuing education. That was abandoned while Hamilton was still in the job, during which time he was pursuing his doctorate.

Officials have not yet penciled in a length for the contract or a starting date. There are provisions in the proposal for Sossamon to keep more of his accrued leave time the longer he stays in the position. Longevity is one of the things the commissioners are seeking in their new administrator.

Dukes was hopeful that Sossamon would look on the proposal favorably, and he voiced interest in seeing the new administrator on board in about a month.

"I'm looking forward to our conversation,'' Dukes said. "I'm hoping it is successful.''

Sossamon also expressed a positive attitude toward the negotiations.

"I've received it, and I'm looking at it. The chairman and I are going to talk some and see if we can come to a meeting of the minds,'' he said.

Depending on the outcome of those discussions, commissioners may take up the contract and Sossamon's arrival date during their meeting Tuesday.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Updated: 5 hours ago
Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

TAMPA — Firefighters were battling a blaze at Captiva Club Apartments on Thursday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.According to video taken at the scene, the roof of one of the apartment buildings at 4401 Club Captiva Dr. ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 7 hours ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 8 hours ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 9 hours ago