DADE CITY — County commissioners chose a Tallahassee headhunting firm Tuesday to help find a replacement for retiring Administrator John Gallagher, and began planning to involve community leaders in the hiring process.
Bob Murray & Associates was selected from among four companies that outlined how they would screen candidates to replace the state's longest serving administrator, who plans to leave in April.
"We've done 800-plus searches," said Renee Narloch, vice president of the 13-year-old firm.
Clients include the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, which forced out its chief executive officer after critical reports about the agency's finances and contracts.
The other firms were the Waters Consulting of Dallas, Colin Baenziger & Associates of Wellington, and the Mercer Group Inc. of Seminole. Fees ranged from $18,000 to $24,000, the amount that Murray quoted.
Narloch said the company will research the county and then put out a brochure to draw candidates. Narloch said she would also include internal candidates on the list of those to be interviewed.
One of those is expected to be Michele Baker, chief assistant county administrator.
Narloch suggested holding a meeting to let residents describe what they expect in a county administrator.
But commissioners want to let leaders express their opinions one on one.
"Whether we want it or not, the community is going to give us input," chairman Ted Schrader said. "It's best that we do it on the front end."
Names mentioned were Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning, Pasco-Hernando Community College president Katherine Johnson and incoming Economic Development Council vice chairman Dewey Mitchell.