Jackson County has been without a county administrator for over a year but it appears the wait is nearing an end. In last week’s evening county commission meeting, the list of candidates vying for the job was narrowed to five. Along with the shorter list of candidates, the interview process was voted on and passed.
Each commissioner will submit their list of questions to the human resources and legal department for determination to make sure they are not in violation of any legal issues. Once all questions are cleared by these two departments, board members will pose their questions to the five potential candidates. Each candidate must be asked the same questions.
Those five applicants making the cut include Interim Administrator Pam Pichard as well as Jackson County resident Earnest (Earnie) Padgett. Pichard lives in Marianna and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in business administration. She has served as the interim since the dismissal of Ted Lakey.
Padgett lives in Marianna and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in public administration. Padgett has previously served as county administrator, leaving that post in 1990. He retired from Okaloosa County in 2014.
Gregory Dunham presently lives in Kenly, North Carolina and currently serves as the town manager. Dunham has held that job since 2011 but is interested in relocating to Florida. He received his Master’s degree in public administration from Florida State University.
Jennifer James-Mesloh is from Marquette, Michigan and holds a Ph.D in public affairs, a Master’s degree in public administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in public relations. She is currently a coordinator in the public administration program at Northern Michigan University.
Larry M. Newsome resides in Flagler Beach and is employed as the city manager. He is a 1981 graduate from Milton High School and a 1988 graduate of USM in Hattiesburg. His resume does not list his level of degree or his major.
The commissioners were hopeful of a resolution to the job search within two to four weeks.