Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County's top pick for administrator considers contract offer 04/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 7:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Before Janessa Shannon's death, parents traded accusations of abuse


    TAMPA — Long before Janessa Shannon's remains were discovered in a Hillsborough County nature preserve, her parents tried to convince court officials that she was in danger.

    From her own family.

    Janessa Shannon, 13, was found dead July 12 in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Hillsborough County. [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017


    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  4. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.