1. News

Hernando County administrator announces selection of four assistants

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Administrator Len Sossamon has announced the selection of four assistant county administrators who will anchor his new management team.

George Zoettlein, Ron Pianta, Russ Wetherington and Brian Malmberg are all current county employees. The selections will become effective upon ratification by the County Commission. The board is slated to consider the appointments on Tuesday.

In a statement announcing the selections, Sossamon said he met with all of the applicants for one-on-one interviews. He said the decisions were based on his observations of the four staffers since he joined the county last May.

"Each has worked diligently to serve the citizens and business sectors of our county," Sossamon said. "They have been responsive to the needs of the community and the requests and demands of working for a unit of local government."

Currently the county's budget manager, Zoettlein will become the new assistant county administrator for budget and community development. He will be responsible for the office of budget management, library services, health and human services, veterans services and extension services.

Zoettlein started working for the county in June 1999. He has held his current job since September 2010 and was director of the office of management and budget from 2000 to 2010.

His current salary is $97,739.20.

Adam Brooks, director of libraries and community services, also applied for the position.

Pianta, the county's land services manager who also served as interim administrator before Sossamon was hired, will be the assistant county administrator for planning and development. He will oversee planning, mass transit, building, zoning, code enforcement, permitting, business development, airport operations and tourist development.

Pianta started with Hernando County in July 2006 as planning director. He took his current post in September 2010 and has an annual salary of $93,558.40.

Building official Frank Baxter also applied for the position.

Currently the county's procurement supervisor, Wetherington has been tapped for assistant county administrator for general services. He will oversee internal county functions such as human resources, risk management, workers' compensation, technology services, communications, purchasing and contracts, vehicle maintenance, facilities maintenance and parks and recreation.

Wetherington joined the county in his current position in May 2011. His annual salary is $75,000.22.

Administrative services director Cheryl Marsden also applied for the job.

Malmberg, currently serving as transportation services director, will take on the role of assistant county administrator for operations. He will be responsible for public works, the county engineer, public safety, fire rescue, animal services, utilities, water and sewer services, and solid waste.

A county employee since March 2011, Malmberg served several months as an interim director before gaining full status in his current job in July 2012.

His annual salary is $90,001.60.

Susan Goebel-Canning, environmental services director, also applied for the job.

The salary range for each of the assistant administrators will be from $79,914 to $128,824.

Sossamon, who sold the new structure to the County Commission late last year as a way to streamline supervision and improve efficiency, said the new assistant administrators will work closely with him to complete the county's strategic plan.

"It is my desire to bring this plan forward in the near future," Sossamon said, "and to have the new assistant county administrators use it in the development process of next year's budget."

Staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.