BROOKSVILLE - Hernando County commissioners last month received word that the already swamped administrative staff was in desperate need of assistance to ensure business agendas get out in time.
Help may soon be on the way.
On Monday, the county's human resources department posted on its bulletin board an employment application for a new position of public information specialist.
The position's pay range is $15.95 to $20.84 an hour and, according to Human Resources technician Denise Forman, the county will seek to fill it in-house by promoting an existing employee. The application deadline is Thursday.
The new public information specialist will act as a backstop to the administrator and assist newly hired public information manager Virginia Singer and administrative assistant Tina Duenninger.
County Administrator Len Sossamon said taxpayers have asked for more transparency in government and this hire will allow Singer and Duenninger more time to be proactive in the community and facilitate the speedier dissemination of important information to the media.
"That's what we're trying to do is get the word out," Sossamon said recently
Sossamon said Duenninger has to work long hours and overtime occasionally to ensure that the bi-weekly county commission agenda gets out by Thursday, five days before each meeting.
County Commissioner Nick Nicholson has said the extra position is probably a good idea because county staff has been cut back so much and there is too much of a burden on the existing administrative assistant.
The applicant must have an at least an associate's degree or the equivalent of credit hours in business administration or a related field.
Assistant County Administrator of Budget and Business Development George Zoettlein said Singer, unlike her predecessor Brenda Frazier, will be somewhat handicapped because she won't have the help of video production manager Rick Foti and his assistant Richard Johnson.
They will be folded into the technical services department.
Zoettlein said Frazier used to rely on Foti to put together the public service spots on government broadcasting.
"(Duenninger) has so much work and can't keep up with it," Zoettlein said recently. "She's overloaded. It's a lot for one person to do."
Singer said Tuesday the position is "absolutely needed," not only to facilitate the timely release of the county commission agendas but to make better use of media resource opportunities to help keep the public informed.