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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Economic development chief's job role tweaked


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BROOKSVILLE - Wanted: a new economic development director for Hernando County, to be paid anywhere from $72,500 to $116,800. Must be willing to have a briefcase full of leads and take off at a moment's notice to pursue those leads.

County commissioners last week directed the county administrator and his staff to draft a job description for the county's next economic development director. In less than a week, that description has been tweaked from the original and Administrative Services Director Cheryl Marsden completed the final job description and posted it on the county's website.

It is also posted on state and national sites, including the Florida Economic Development Council, the Florida Association of Counties and the International City-County Management Association.

The candidate must have a minimum of six years of "progressively responsible experience in economic and community development in a supervisory or management capacity," the description states.

A master's degree can be substituted for three years' experience.

Finally, the applicant "must be energetic, self-motivated, an innovative leader with excellent communication and presentation skills and a proven record in economic development."

The successful candidate will serve as liaison between the business community and county government and assist in dealing with regulations affecting the relocation and expansion of business and industry in Hernando County. The person will also oversee tourism.

One person has already submitted his resume in response to the advertisement: Marco Oliveri, of Lakeland, who has 40 years experience in marketing and management in the private and public sector.

County Commissioner Nick Nicholson is confident County Administrator Len Sossamon, Marsden and staffers can handle the selection process.

"I'm pleased with the rewritten job description," Nicholson said.

Nicholson said the board will likely hire someone in the mid-range on salary if the county is going to find someone to meet the requirements.

"I don't believe they come cheap," he said.

County Commissioner Wayne Dukes has repeatedly said he wants someone with a proven track record and ready to hop an airplane at a moment's notice to travel anywhere in the country to meet with a prospective client.

County Commissioner Diane Rowden said she is pleased that staff moved so fast on the job posting.

"I think it's great," she said. "We need to move quickly."

Mike McHugh, who made $96,553, resigned from the Office of Business Development after 11 years guiding economic development.

Commissioners were undecided whether to hire a headhunting firm to do the legwork on the candidate search or do it in-house. After lengthy debate, they opted to turn it over to staff and save some $20,000 on a consultant.

The ad posting will run through Oct. 4.

(352) 544-5290

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