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    Tarpon manager says no to Sarasota

    Ellen Posivach, who says she didn't apply, was a finalist to manage the city of 51,000.


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published August 21, 2001

    TARPON SPRINGS -- City Manager Ellen Posivach recently was named a finalist to run the city of Sarasota, then withdrew her name because she said she is happy with her current job.

    Posivach said Monday that she did not apply for the city manager's position in Sarasota but was identified as a possible candidate by a headhunter. She later submitted a brief statement about what she could contribute to the city but decided to withdraw her name last week.

    "I'm really feeling good about the city" of Tarpon Springs, she said. "I feel like I've got a commitment here."

    She also was a finalist for a job out of state, she said, but she declined to identify the city.

    She said she is not actively looking for another job. She looked at jobs during the tumultuous city election season, she said.

    "I thought that was probably the prudent thing to do, considering the tenor of the election," she said.

    But she said things have been running smoothly since Mayor Frank DiDonato was re-elected in March over former City Manager Costa Vatikiotis, who was critical of the way the city was run under DiDonato and Posivach.

    Other finalists for the Sarasota job are the city managers from Gresham, Ore., and Dover, N.H.; the assistant county managers from Arlington County, Va. and Collier County; and the assistant city manager from Norfolk, Va.

    Posivach's salary is $94,875. All the other finalists oversee cities with larger populations than Tarpon Springs, and all earn more money than Posivach, according to a Sarasota Herald-Tribune article.

    Posivach said the fact that she was considered for the job in Sarasota -- it has 51,000 people, compared with 21,000 in Tarpon Springs -- reflects well on the smaller city.

    "I think it's a real accolade to the city of Tarpon Springs, that we've been able to do what we've done and that the city of Sarasota would be interested in me," she said.

    Posivach was hired in 1998 after the city received 105 applications. Before that, she was assistant city manager for Hopewell, Va., near Richmond. She has a master's degree in public administration from Old Dominion University. She is the first woman to serve as the city's top executive, and she received a glowing performance review from the City Commission a year ago.

    When she was hired, commissioners said she was chosen because of her strong resume and what DiDonato called the "warm, fuzzy" mood she created during an interview.

    -- Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182.

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