Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles is stepping away from his leadership role in county government so he and his wife, Mandy, can pursue church development work overseas.
His last day official day will be Sept. 30, but his last working day will be July 31, because of accrued personal time off.
Biles asked the county board to accept his resignation during its May 17 meeting and to begin the process for naming his replacement.
The board will be addressing that process soon, including the possibility of hiring the same search company as it used to find Biles, or considering the option of hiring a local candidate for the county government’s top job.
Biles is leaving at a time when Pasco has been experiencing rampant growth.
In his resignation letter, Biles noted, “While change is inevitable, I don’t think many of us expected what we would go through when I was hired by the county five years ago.
“On the positive side, we have seen some incredible growth with projects such as the much-anticipated Ridge Road extension and the subsequent Moffitt Campus initiative. On the negative side, we could never have anticipated the impacts that a worldwide pandemic and natural disasters would bring to our county. And yet, probably the work I am most grateful for is the radical cultural changes that have occurred within our organization that have resulted in not only significant performance gains across the enterprise but also the granting of three different Best Places to Work awards.”
He credits his accomplishments to the board’s willingness to give him “the flexibility and authority to focus first and foremost on building and maintaining our people-focused culture.”
Biles’ exit comes at a time when the county is preparing to expand its jail and to take over jail operations.
He’s also leaving at a time when the county is seeking to extend its Penny for Pasco surtax, a 1-cent sales tax that helps to pay for county projects.
His departure also comes when the county is in its early stages of updating its comprehensive plan, known as Pasco 2050.
Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey told Biles: “Well, we’re sorry to see you go, but I understand when these callings come, you need to answer them.
“You’ve taken us to new heights, in a challenging time. And, I think we had the right person, for the right time,” she added.
Commissioner Mike Moore noted that the board needs to choose an interim to serve until Biles’ replacement is named. The interim is expected to be named at the board’s next meeting in June.
Moore also observed: “You don’t always have to do a national search. Maybe we want to talk about people that are here.”
The job must be posted, but whether the board uses its own human resources department or a national search firm is the board’s decision, Biles said.
Commissioner Jack Mariano told Biles: “Dan, you’ve done a phenomenal job here.”
The commissioner said Biles’ background as an engineer was crucial in working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the extension of Ridge Road.
The Ridge Road extension is “such a critical piece for us,” Mariano said, adding that it played a role in attracting Moffitt Cancer Center to locate a campus in Pasco, which is leading to greater things for the future of Pasco.
Mariano said the county should consider both internal candidates and candidates from elsewhere.
Mariano raised concerns about the timing of the jail takeover, which had been discussed in previous board meetings, as being scheduled for Oct. 1.
Biles said he has always viewed Oct. 1 as an aggressive schedule for the takeover.
County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder told the board: “We had concerns about Oct. 1, so we didn’t want to bind you to Oct. 1. But that’s still going to have to be a negotiation between you and the sheriff.”
Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein told the board there will be a resolution at its next meeting relating to the takeover.
The resolution doesn’t refer to Oct. 1, but rather refers to the 2023 fiscal year, Goldstein said.
Published May 25, 2022