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Wednesday July 23rd 2014

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Gathering for the Hunt

administrator selection committeeThe men who will help steer the selection of Escambia County’s next administrator gathered for their initial meeting today. They were introduced to huge binders full of resumes as they tried to get a grasp on the mission that lies ahead.

“What are we looking for?” asked Tom Knox.

Sitting as the selection advisory committee to the Escambia County Commission, these men are charged with wading through the more than 40 applicants in search of an administrator. Knox suggested the group first decide what kind of applicant it was searching for.

“You don’t hunt deer in the middle of the city,” he said. “You go out to the woods to hunt deer.”

Though no firm criteria was set, the committee members did agree to cull the applicants and set aside the ones that seemed promising by their next meeting.

“I’d like to see us narrow it down to about six and go from there,” said committee member Joe Ward, Sr.

The county commission has not provided the committee with a timeframe in which its work must be completed. Commissioners have said, however, that they hope to hire a new administrator by this fall.

“There’s no deadline,” said David Pavlok, who was selected as the committee’s chairman, “but the sooner the better, I suppose.”

Whoever is hired as Escambia’s next administrator will enter the job as numerous issues face the county. Currently, there is the prospect of taking over operations of the Escambia County Jail and also the conflict with the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority over where the area’s waste is disposed. Looking to the future, the administrator will be a central character as RESTORE Act funds enter the county.

“There’s some good opportunities, is a good way to put it, but there’s a lot to be done,” explained Human Resource Director Tom Turner, after providing the committee with a list of items on the county’s plate.

In addition to briefly introducing themselves today, the committee members spoke a bit about what type of candidate they are seeking to fill the administrator position.

Pavlok said he would be inclined to give preference to candidates from Florida. He also said he is looking for “someone that’s been there and done that,” and an applicant that had felt the “pains of management.”

Pastor Joseph Marshall said he hoped to find an administrator with “a proven track record” and “strong social relations.” Bob Price said the county needed a “strong administrator … someone that can take charge and handle staff.”

Ward said he would prefer someone who had experience managing “hundreds of people.” He also mentioned that he thought that Escambia should “ride off the coattails” of the Airbus factory in Mobile, Ala., and that it should be focusing on securing industrial parks to better position itself for such. The committee member also mentioned that he felt there was a need for an I-10 interchange in Beulah.

The members scheduled their next meeting for 1:30 p.m. on July 8. At that time they will compare their whittled-down lists of applicants.

“I think the no’s are going to be pretty easy,” said Ward.

“I agree with Mr. Ward,” Price said, “It ain’t gonna take too long to figure out who’s not suppose to be in this pile.”