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Administrators' 'right-hand' retires

Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2013 at 04:24 PM

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For the last two decades, Hernando County administrators have come and gone.

But during all that time, there has been one familiar face: Alice Gura.

Gura, who has served as the right-hand person to every administrator, will report to work for the last time today. After 24 years, she is retiring.

Community Relations Coordinator Brenda Frazier, who also will be retiring at the end of September, will step into Gura's executive assistant role until a permanent replacement is found.

The county decided to seek applicants from in-house and, as of Thursday, five people have submitted their paperwork.

"She's always been the go-to person for county administration," Frazier said.

Frazier described Gura as a "very, very hard worker."

"We're going to miss her tremendously," she said. "It's going to be a huge void. She has a lot of institutionalized knowledge."

County Administrator Len Sossamon said Gura's help while he has settled into his job last year was invaluable.

It's going to be tough, he said, filling her shoes.

"It's like losing your right arm," Sossamon said. "She knows everybody, where everybody is and what everybody ought to be doing. She knows how everything fits together.

"She's someone you can't replace overnight," he added. "I'm going to miss her a lot."

Jerry Haines, safety and worker's compensation coordinator, has known Gura for 26 years and called Gura an "asset to the county."

"She's very friendly, very professional," Haines said. "She gets along well with people."

County Commissioner Jim Adkins said Gura's departure saddens him.

"It's going to be a sad day," said Adkins, a former Brooksville fire chief who knew her even before he was elected to his current post. "She has helped me tremendously. Any time I needed her, she was there."

The county will be taking applications through Tuesday. Here are the names of those who applied so far:

Pamela Hejduk, a paralegal in the county attorney's office; Kim Ortiz, tangible specialist with the property appraiser; Tina Duenninger, administrative secretary in the planning department; Sherry Crum, minutes clerk in the clerk of the court office; and Wilbert Stewart, office assistant with Hernando County Fire Rescue.

The position is advertised with a pay range of $40,352 to $65,069

Gura's annual salary is $56,534.

Former County Commissioner June Ester said she remembers Gura as being efficient and loyal to her boss.

"She was apolitical," said Ester, commissioner from 1988-96. "You never knew what political affiliation she was with."

Ester said Gura's retirement, along with Frazier's in September, will create a large gap in the county's institutional knowledge.

"That has to bother people because there is nobody really left there with any history," Ester said. (352) 544-5290

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