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New Pasco administrator to begin May 1

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners made it official Tuesday, hiring Dan Biles of Alabama as the next county administrator.

The commission approved a three-year contract for Biles, paying him $220,000 annually, plus benefits that bring the total yearly value of the package to $278,431. Biles is scheduled to begin work in Pasco on May 1.

He succeeds Michele Baker, who is retiring after serving four years as administrator, which capped a 24-year career working for Pasco County government. Baker's contract expires in July, and her exact departure date has not been scheduled.

The board voted to offer Biles the job March 14 after he emerged as the unanimous favorite after commissioners had spent the day interviewing Biles and four other candidates following a national search.

Biles, 48, a retired Air Force colonel, was deputy Jefferson County manager for infrastructure in Birmingham, Ala., when he accepted the position in Pasco.

"We are excited to have Mr. Biles join our team,'' said commission Chairman Mike Moore.

Commissioner Kathryn Starkey asked the board to consider retaining Baker to work on the county's application to the Army Corps of Engineers for an environmental permit for the proposed Ridge Road extension. Baker has acted as project manager on the permit application for 12 years.

Baker did not comment on Starkey's suggestion. Moore said the decision should be made by Biles after he becomes county administrator.

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