The Children's Board of Hillsborough County had no shortage of applicants for its vacant chief executive officer position.
More than 200 people — from a tire salesman to a current Children's Board staffer to a University of Kentucky professor — have applied for the job vacated by Luanne Panacek, who resigned last year amid questions about how the agency had been handling contracts, spending money and dealing with employees. Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has been running the agency on an interim basis.
The list has some familiar names in government circles: Don Dixon, a former Children's Board executive who works for Hillsborough County; Jim Farrelly, executive director of the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando; and Steven Van Gorden, a former Zephyrhills mayor who resigned as Zephyrhills High School principal last year amid allegations of sexual harassment. Other applicants include Joanne Lighter, former president of The Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence shelter.
A search firm is whittling the list down to about a dozen, and the Children Board's directors are scheduled to meet March 6 to select five finalists.
Officials expect the board to approve a contract with their top pick on April 5.