Nine make short list for county economic development manager job

BROOKSVILLE – County Administrator Len Sossamon has nine applicants to consider for the vacant post of economic development manager.

There had been 11, but one accepted another job and another withdrew his name from consideration.

In all, 30 people had responded to the advertisement that went out last month 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.

Robert Neuhausen, with Sparton Electronics, did not make the short list. Neuhausen is running for Hernando County School Board.

Sossamon said during last week’s county commission meeting he is 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, which will ensure the person is serious about the job. 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.

Here is a brief profile of the nine applicants:

Charles Baughman was economic development director for the city of Vestavia Hills, Ala., for about one year. He cites a city reorganization as the reason he ended his relationship with the city in September.

Before that he was the owner of his own consulting firm for three years.

His salary was $85,000, and he is willing to negotiate for the Hernando County job.

Baughman said he was responsible for the development and implementation of a retail recruitment strategy and wrote a sales tax rebate incentive program.

Thomas Carrino Jr. 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.

Deborah Davis has worked as project manager for the city of Hartford, Conn., since August 2010 and makes $73,000 per year. She didn’t include her salary requirements for the Hernando position.

She has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked in economic development for more than 15 years, according to her application.

Harold Gallup worked as economic development director for the city of Lake Wales from January 2004 to May 2013.

Gallup said he has worked with the business community, helped develop a business park and worked with federal, state and regional agencies “to advance the economic well-being of the city.”

His former salary was $98,700, and he requires $108,000 for the Hernando County job.

Alvin Jackson Jr. was executive director with the Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, in Hallandale Beach from January 2011 to January 2013.

He cited “philosophical differences” as his reason for leaving.

A Sun Sentinel article, dated Dec. 19, 2012, said commissioners fired Jackson after citing a “loss of trust.”

The article said there were communication issues between Jackson and the mayor and referred to an instance when the former gave himself and staff a salary raise without consulting the commission.

In his application, Jackson said he led economic development initiatives to eliminate slum and blight conditions in the city, create sustainable jobs and expand the overall tax base.

He was making $100,966 and now requires $115,000.

David Lyons Sr. 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.

Oscar Ocasio was business developer with the Arco Construction Group in New Jersey and is responsible for sales and marketing of construction services. He was employed there for three years, leaving in May 2013. He cited a relocation to Florida as his reason.

Ocasio said he has 13 years experience developing and controlling $15 million budgets for previous positions. He makes $95,000 and requires $105,000.

Jon Roberts was city manager for the city of Steamboat Springs, Colo., from February 2009 to October 2012.

He cited “relocation to a milder climate” as reason for leaving.

As chief executive officer, he reported to the city council and supervised a staff of 270 employees. He said he prepared the $50-million annual budget and monitored the city’s activities and expenditures.

Under salary requirements, he lists $100,000.

Mark Tallman was city manager for the city of Linden, Mich., for only five months – from May 1, 2012 to Sept. 28, 2012.

A published report in that community’s media said Tallman and the city reached a mutual agreement that he step down.

Before that he served three years as city administrator for the city of Kechi, Kansas.

In his application, Tallman said he is underemployed and wants to return to public service. He requires $50,000.

When asked if he has knowledge of the principles and programs of Hernando County government, Tallman said his “learning curve will be short.”

Walter Williams was economic development manager for Commerce City, Colo., for 10 months. His last day was Aug. 28, 2013.

Williams called his leaving a “voluntary separation.”

Before that he was economic development director for the city of Farmington, Mo. for three years.

His salary requirements are $80,000 to $90,000 but he said he is willing to negotiate.

Nine make short list for county economic development manager job
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