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Final 4 vie to be right-hand man

The winning applicant is also seen as heir to the administrator's title.

By WILL VAN SANT

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 3, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- Two months ago, Hernando County officials were told to evaluate about 150 applications for the post of assistant county administrator.

The contest is now down to a final four.

While the search is ostensibly for a second-in-command, many observers of county politics expect that whoever gets the job will succeed County Administrator Richard Radacky should the 17-year-veteran of county government retire as expected in June 2004.

Radacky, who earns about $101,000 a year, is responsible for an extraordinary range of duties, from preparing County Commission agendas to firing employees and supervising contracts to serving as custodian of county property.

Radacky, who said he has not decided whether to leave, will have the final say on who is chosen. And he wants to make sure whoever is selected is ready to make a long-term commitment.

"The county doesn't need to be going through this in another couple of years," he said.

Those in the final heat include: Robert T. Halfhill, public works director for Escambia County; George J. Roussos, assistant county administrator of Eagle County, Colo.; Gary P. Shimun, city manager in Hannibal, Mo.; and Grant Tolbert, Hernando County's director of development services.

Besides devotion to the job, which will likely pay $75,000 to $95,000 a year, Radacky said he wants a "dynamic leader" with great communication skills and knowledge of government.

All four candidates are to be interviewed on Saturday. Radacky said he hoped to make a choice within a week after that.

-- Will Van Sant covers Hernando County government and can be reached at 754-6127. Send e-mail to vansant@sptimes.com .

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