[UPDATE] Wakulla County Hires New County Administrator

By: Jerry Askin Email
By: Jerry Askin Email

UPDATE 06-23-2011 at 5:50pm by Jerry Askin

Commissioners voted 3-2 at Tuesday night's meeting to select David Edwards for the position. The board of county commissioners held public interviews for the candidates on May 9th.

They came back Tuesday night for a final vote. Pam Portwood was also in the running for the position. Edwards is expected to begin working October 1st. ______________________________________________________
UPDATE 05-17-2011 at 11:50pm by Jerry Askin

The next Wakulla County administrator was scheduled to be announced at Monday night's commission meeting, but county commissioners voted to start from scratch and pick new candidates.

The county commissioners held public interviews last Monday for their top two candidates, David Edwards and Pam Portwood. At last night's commission meeting, the board voted David Edwards as their top ranked candidate, but after much discussion, commissioners voted 3 to 2 that Mr. Edwards did not fulfill their vision of the new county administrator.

Commissioner Jerry Moore says, "We had the best candidate. Granted he was not a public administrator, but he was free enterprise, highly qualified individual, and I'm just terribly sorry that we chose to go the way we did."

Ben Pingree resigned as county administrator in November of last year (2010). The re-advertisement for county administrator will be distributed in the next few weeks.

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UPDATE 5-9-2011

It's been more than six months since former Wakulla County Administrator Ben Pingree resigned from office. Now, county commissioners have chosen two finalists for the job.

David Edwards says, "I feel that I can bring great management experience to the county and mainly stability."

"I just love this county, and I want us to move forward, and I love working as a public servant, that is who I am at my very core," says Pam Portwood.

County commissioners held public interviews Monday for both candidates. Pam Portwood says she've lived in the county for more than 14 years and has served nearly three decades in public administration.

"I think that my experience and the knowledge that I've gained for those 28 years of experience is going to serve the county really well," says Portwood.

The other finalist, David Edwards has lived in the county just two years, but says he's more than qualified, having worked some 25 years in management.

"It's not a stepping stone for me, I don't need it on my resume. I want to retire right here in Wakulla County as the county administrator," says Edwards.

Interim County Administrator Tim Barden says the county is looking forward to filling the position - to bring someone else in that they hope will help the county grow.

"The board would like to get someone in here permanently that can take us to the next level and keep us in step with moving the county forward," says Barden.

Wakulla County Resident Renee Calhoun says, "We need some new blood, we need someone to come in and take charge, hit the ground running.

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UPDATE 5-6-2011

Wakulla County has narrowed its county administrator candidates down to three people: Richard Reade, David Edwards, and Pam Portwood.

The county will host public interviews of the three finalist on Monday, May 9th from 5 - 7pm at the Wakulla County Commission Chambers.

We will have a crew at the public interviews Monday evening and plan to bring you more as we gather it.

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Wakulla County Administrator Ben Pingree is resigning as county administrator.

Ben Pingree says, "Frankly it's been very ugly here. There was a larger political conversation occurring in this community that I unfortunately was drug into I think unfairly."

Some folks in Wakulla County say they're frustrated with the way the county has been governed and they've been pointing the finger at County Administrator Ben Pingree.

Wakulla County District 1 Commissioner Alan Brock says "Some people are frustrated with the way the government's been working. We have a very small staff in Wakulla County and things don't move in the speed that people want them to all the time and I think that ended up being focused on Ben Pingree."

Pingree has worked as Wakulla County Administrator for four years and now he's resigning to work as President of a nonprofit in South Florida. As county administrator, he says he's confident that he's helped the county reach new heights and that his dedication and commitment speaks for itself.

Ben Pingree says, "There's a lot of achievements that has been made in this county, this county has grown, it's become an even better place to live and I think that all of those achievements are only going to be expanded upon in the years ahead."

Pingree says he knows he has left behind positive footsteps for future leadership and that his reason for leaving is not because he can't face the criticism.

"I had a great opportunity and I was fortunate enough to secure that and move on" he says.

An interim county administrator will begin training with Pingree on November 16th. Pingree says his last day of work is January 3rd.


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