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Hunt begins for new county administrator

County officials have begun seeking applications for the county administrator's job. They hope to fill the post in early November.

The advertisements began appearing in more than a dozen national and state professional newsletters and Web sites this month. The PAR Group in Lake Bluff, Ill., is conducting the search. There is no official deadline for applications, which will be accepted at least until late August.

"We don't put a cut-off date because some folks might come in at the final hours," said Steve Bernard, PAR Group vice president.

After the search is complete, the PAR Group will identify about 12 candidates, whose information may be presented to the board on Sept. 6 and discussed at the regular meeting Sept. 11, said Stephen Carroll, assistant county administrator.

From there, commissioners will likely narrow the group to six to eight individuals. They will be interviewed during the last week of September or the first week of October.

"If everything goes according to plan, we're looking forward to the new administrator to start around the beginning of November," Carroll said.

The position may prove more difficult to fill in Florida than in other parts of the country because of state open records laws.

"It is a definite concern," Bernard said. "It really dampens recruitment. Very good people are not going to apply for this job because their names will become public prematurely."

If the firm doesn't get enough qualified applicants the first time around, the process will be extended.

The search comes after longtime County Administrator Fred Marquis retired Sept. 30. Interim County Administrator Gay Lancaster, who stepped in last October, has said she will not apply for the position, which will pay $117,500 to $182,200 annually.