BROOKSVILLE - County Administrator Len Sossamon has whittled down a list of nine applicants for the vacant economic development manager position to two men: Thomas Carrino Jr. of Illinois and David Lyons Sr. of Georgia.
Both men have lengthy experience in economic development. Carrino will interview with the county Nov. 18 and Lyons on Nov. 20.
Carrino has been economic development manager in Urbana, Ill., since 2006. Before that, he held the same post for the city of Cocoa in Florida.
Carrino said he is making $85,765 annually in his current job, but when asked what his salary requirements are for the position he answered $100,000.
Carrino said in his application he is experienced in recruiting and retaining businesses,
"While I have never worked for Hernando County, I have reviewed and understand the county's programs, particularly those relating to business development and economic development," Carrino wrote.
Lyons has been project manager with the West Point Development Authority in Georgia since February 2010, where he is responsible for recruiting new industry, working with existing industry, negotiating bond issues, preparing budgets and marketing plans.
He currently makes $70,000 and said his salary requirement is $90,000.
"I feel my experience and passion for economic development work will help me move this city to accomplish more job growth," Lyons wrote in his application.
In all, 30 people had responded to the advertisement that went out in August when Mike McHugh announced he was stepping down from the position Sept. 13. He made $96,553 when he left.
The job description has a salary range of $72,488 to $116,857.
Sossamon said he was pleased with the diversity of geographic locales of the candidates. He wanted to get specifics from each candidate as to what kinds of industry they recruited to their respective counties and what their plans are for Hernando County.
County Commissioner Wayne Dukes has said he will press to have the selected applicant placed under contract. Dukes said he doesn't want someone who is looking to move to Florida to make Hernando County the last stop before retirement.
This job is too important for that, he said.