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Tarpon employee's visa troubles over

The city's new human resources director, a Canadian citizen, has been waiting since October to start her job.

After spending months in immigration limbo, the city's new human resources director has gotten her visa and will start the job this week.

Jane Kniffen, a Canadian citizen, received her work visa last week and almost immediately drove from Courtland, Ontario, to Tarpon Springs.

Kniffen said she looks forward to meeting all the people at City Hall and diving into the new job.

"I'm getting to know my way around," she said before a meeting with City Manager Ellen Posivach on Monday.

The position has been vacant since Al Michetti resigned a year ago.

After she was hired in October, city officials thought Kniffen would get a work visa from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in January or February. Then they thought she would arrive at the end of April.

Posivach said she is anxious for Kniffen to start working. The two of them will focus on the "high performance organizations" theory of management, which calls for organizations to continually raise their performance standards, Posivach said.

Kniffen's expertise with high performance organizations was one of the reasons she was selected for the job, Posivach said. Three separate panels of interviewers chose Kniffen as the best candidate for the job.

Kniffen has a strong grasp of U.S. labor and human resources laws, Posivach said.

Kniffen has worked 17 years in the field of human resources, most recently for the school board in London, Ontario. "This woman came in and she absolutely blew everybody away" in the interviews, Posivach said.

Kniffen's temporary work visa lasts for three years, then can be renewed for another three.