Pinellas County to pick new administrator from 10 candidates

Pinellas County Commissioners Karen Williams Seel, Charlie Justice, and County Administrator Mark S. Woodard,  talk about the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board in 2017. Commissioners are now reviewing candidates who will replace Woodard. He is retiring later this year. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
Pinellas County Commissioners Karen Williams Seel, Charlie Justice, and County Administrator Mark S. Woodard, talk about the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board in 2017. Commissioners are now reviewing candidates who will replace Woodard. He is retiring later this year. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published June 29 2018
Updated July 2 2018

CLEARWATER –– Forty-five chief executive candidates from across the United States applied to become Pinellas County’s next administrator –– but only 10 are semifinalists.

The Pinellas County Commission received nearly 200 pages of records on Friday and will now spend several weeks scrutinizing those who have made the first cut to lead Florida’s most densely populated county. The position pays from $212,000 to $275,000.

Six of the semifinalists hail from the Sunshine State, including four from the Tampa Bay region. Two live in Georgia, and the others are from South Carolina and Illinois.

Commissioner Dave Eggers said he would like a candidate with a strong background in local government who could move the needle forward to make Pinellas even better.

"We have to maximize the importance that this area has," Eggers said. "We really need to get into the review process."

The six Florida finalists are: James Dinneen, the Volusia County manager; Carl Harness, Hillsborough County’s chief human services administrator; Bruce Moeller, a consultant who once was Pinellas County’s director of safety and emergency services; Joseph Napoli, a Miami deputy city manager; Jill Silverboard, a Clearwater deputy city manager; and Michael Staffopoulos, a Largo assistant city manager.

The Georgia candidates are Roberto Hernandez, a Savannah city manager; and Steve Howard, a county administrator in Camden County. The others are Sandra Portillo de Yudice, an assistant county administrator in Richland County, S.C.; and Barry Burton, a county administrator in Lake County, Ill.

Commissioner Pat Gerard said it’s essential for the candidates to work with partners across the county and have "the ability to juggle a lot of personalities."

The administrator oversees 2,000 employes and a budget of $2.2 billion. Administrator Mark Woodard plans to retire later this year after 30 years with the county. Texas-based Waters & Co. received $24,500 to conduct a nationwide search.

Commissioners will spend the next few weeks reviewing candidates.

They plan to narrow the list with the search firm on July 19. After background checks are completed, they will bring several candidates in for interviews on Aug. 13-14. An employment offer to the top choice could be offered around Aug. 20.

Some of the rejected applicants included government officials in St. Petersburg, Hillsborough, Oregon, Minnesota and Texas. One applicant, Thomas Heck, listed his occupation as a U.S. Senate candidate from Nevada.

Contact Mark Puente at [email protected] or (727) 892-2996. Follow @MarkPuente.

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