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Search For Santa Rosa Administrator Down To Short List

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Three local residents and a fourth with ties to Pensacola are among the eight candidates to replace Hunter Walker as Santa Rosa County Administrator.

Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Don Salter says they received the short list, culled from 56 applicants, from a committee formed by the Florida Association of Counties. He says working with them was preferable to going through a private “head hunter” firm.

“We were not comfortable with that,” said Salter. “The Florida Association of Counties has started assisting cities and counties in searches to replace county administrators and city managers.”

The finalists include Larry Newsome – who has served twice as interim Escambia County Administrator; Tony Gomillion of Jay, Santa Rosa County’s Public Service Director, and Jonathan Lewis of Navarre, an engineer with Georgia Pacific Paper in Brewton, AL. And there’s Jackson County Administrator Ted Lakey, a UWF graduate.

“Not all of them, but almost all of them have some type of governmental administrative experience,” Salter said.

The other candidates are: Parrish Barwick of Monticello, Florida; Michael Brillhart, of West Barnstable, Massachusetts, Randall Dowling, of Hoschton, Georgia, and David Recor of Ocean City. Maryland.

A ninth – Jim Walker of McDonough, Georgia -- dropped out after taking another job.

Last April, Hunter Walker announced plans to retire at the end of this year, after two decades as County Administrator. While not a member of the search committee, he’s been working with it and the County Commission.

“I’ve reviewed the resumes, and just working with our Human Resources Department to make sure we get all the information to the Board,” said Salter. “Just making sure that the [FAC] committee had all the information they needed. The hire is obviously the [County Commission’s}.”

Out of the original 56 applicants, Walker agrees with the FAC committee’s opinion that the eight submitted to Santa Rosa County are good candidates.

Commission Chairman Don Salter says at this point, the timetable for getting the new administrator in place remains fairly solid, beginning with the October 22nd County Commission meeting. Walker says he’s willing to stay longer if needed.

“I don’t turn into a pumpkin [December] 31st,” Walker said.

Hunter Walker’s salary is just over $132,000 per year. The County is advertising a salary range for the position, of between $115,000-$145,000, based on qualifications and experience.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.