Five candidates, out of a potential list of 11, made the cutoff and will be brought to Pasco County to interview as the replacement for outgoing County Administrator Michele Baker.
Baker is scheduled to leave office in July.
She notified county commissioners last year that she planned to retire and would not seek to renew her contract.
A group tour of Pasco, an invitation-only meet-and-greet, and interviews at a county commission meeting are anticipated in mid-March for the candidate finalists.
County commissioners got a preview of 11 candidates at the Feb. 21 meeting in New Port Richey from Mark Morien, vice president of Chicago-based GovHR USA.
Commissioners received packets on each candidate, including resumes and comments from references, and candidate interviews. They voted to select five of the 11 candidates to interview.
GovHR USA received a total of 54 resumes, from 18 states. Gabriel Papadopoulos, manager of Pasco County’s elderly nutrition program, was the lone internal candidate to apply.
Although Papadopoulos wasn’t among the recommended candidates, Morien said he wanted to identify him “so you are aware of who your future leaders are.”
Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano unexpectedly tossed in Kevin Guthrie’s name.
After a short pause, Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said, “It’s a little late.”
Pasco hired Guthrie in 2016 as emergency management director and, soon after, revamped his role to director of emergency services.
Guthrie didn’t apply for the county administrator’s job.
Of the five selected candidates, one is from Florida; the others are from Illinois, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
The job advertised an annual salary of $220,000. Baker currently receives about $192,000.
The finalists are:
- Daniel F. Biles, deputy county manager of Jefferson County, Alabama, located in Birmingham.
Biles has a military background and has family living in Florida.
He has 10 years of experience in engineering, including work on stormwater issues.
Morien said Biles recently received an 18 percent salary boost to $207,500 a year.
“It’s a reflection of his performance and desire of the county to keep him,” said Morien.
- Mark A. Cunningham, assistant county administrator in Sarasota County.
Cunningham previously served as executive director of planning and development in Denton, Texas; and, as director of land development in Polk County.
Morien said references described him as a good problem solver and a glass-half-full person.
“You don’t have to keep reading,” said Starkey. “I really like this one.”
- David M. Ross, the first county administrator of Rock Island County, Illinois, which formed its government in 2015.
Ross also is a former police officer.
Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore and Starkey chimed in during Morien’s presentation to say, “I like him.”
- Theodore L. Voorhees, the former city manager of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
A majority of city council members asked for his resignation in April 2016.
Morien said Voorhees initially was recruited to bring change to Fayetteville. He is credited with bringing a minor league baseball team to the city.
However, an election scrambled the makeup of the council members, and resulted in tensions between Voorhees and the
Since 1980, Fayetteville has fired six city managers, Morien said.
- Dale M. Walker, county manager of the Macon-Bibb County government, which consolidated in 2014.
He previously served as chief administrative officer of the City of Macon. He also worked for 30 years in Cadillac, Michigan, as its director of finance and deputy city manager.
Published March 1, 2017