The Pasco County Commission has approved a reorganization that establishes a new Public Safety Branch.
It will oversee the county’s department of corrections and its fire/rescue division.
The county assumed the operations of the county’s jail on Oct. 1, necessitating a reorganization to appoint a division to oversee corrections and fire/rescue.
The Pasco County Commission also confirmed the appointment of John J. Murphy to serve as assistant county administrator of the Public Safety Branch, at an annual $180,000 salary.
His official start date is Nov. 28.
County Administrator Mike Carballa said that Murphy was selected after a national search.
“We had a quite large pool of qualified candidates,” Carballa said, which was narrowed down to four finalists.
The finalists met with department directors, various stakeholders, the county’s executive leadership and Carballa.
Murphy has a mix of military and local government experience, Carballa noted. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in criminal justice, from Marywood University.
Murphy also is a credentialed manager by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and serves on the ICMA’s Veterans Advisory Board, according to the agenda materials.
Importantly, Carballa said, “he shares our leadership philosophy here at the county.”
The county administrator said he’s confident that Murphy will do great things with the Public Safety Branch.
Murphy told the board: “It was a very thorough search. I got to meet a lot of staff. I think there was probably more than 25 (people) that were part of the process.”
He added: “I’m honored to be selected and join this team, and move the county forward, especially as you’re taking over a brand-new jail operation, that’s critical.
“I’ve met at least a half-a-dozen of the fire department’s leadership team and I look forward to working with them, as well,” Murphy said.
The Land O’ Lakes Detention Center previously was managed by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, but the operations shifted to Pasco County when the new fiscal year began Oct. 1.
In addressing the county board, Murphy said he’s looking forward to the new position and assured the board that the hiring process had been thorough, mentioning that he thinks he met with about 25 people.