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Santa Rosa Begins Search For New Administrator

The Santa Rosa County Commission is beginning the search for a new administrator. A draft announcement was discussed in Monday’s committee meeting.

Hunter Walker plans to retire on December 31, after two decades as Santa Rosa’s top non-elected governmental official. He made the announcement in mid-April, timing it to allow the panel as much time as needed to make its plans.

Commissioner Layne Lynchard says the draft announcement on how the search will evolve is expected to pass during Thursday’s regular meeting. Lynchard says the ideal candidate is required to have a master’s degree, and at least seven years’ experience in local government. Plus, there are Hunter Walker’s rather large shoes to fill.

“The employees respect him, they trust him,” said Lynchard. “The commissioners respect him, trust him, and I think that’s going to be the hard part of the selection process. Finding someone that we and our employees and our department heads will be able to work with.”

Resumes will be accepted through July 31st. And Lynchard says the Commission isn’t going it alone in conducting their search.

“It will be advertised nationwide, as well as through the Florida Association of Counties, and Florida Association of County Managers,” Lynchard said. “We’ll cast a wide net, and hopefully get some good resumes.”

Hired as the county’s third administrator in October, 1995 Walker, who will be 65 by the time he steps down, was asked what he wants his successor to bring to the Santa Rosa County table.

“Have a good track record as a local government manager,” said Walker. “If I had my druthers, you get a 40- or 45-year-old in here that’s going to be more skilled than I am, in the analytics and the social media, and just public management in leadership.”

As Santa Rosa County Administrator, Hunter Walker currently earns just over $132,000 per year, and has a $500 per month vehicle allowance. The salary range for the position, according to the draft announcement, is “competitive, and based on qualifications and experience.”