Live Oak —
The Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners held interviews last week for the county’s new economic development director position and selected their top three to begin negotiations with. Out of 20 applicants, Shane Farnsworth of Columbus, Ohio was selected as the top candidate. Alvin Jackson of Boynton Beach fell in second place and Allan Lane of North Port placed third. The board gave County Administrator Randy Harris the go-ahead to begin negotiations and background checks and report his findings to the board at the next regular meeting on March 4.
Prior to the interviews, Harris provided the board with 10 criteria the board should consider when choosing candidates. Each category was worth up to five points, with a perfect score being 50. The max score a candidate could have received was 250.
Farnsworth ended his interview with a top score of 194. Jackson came in a close second with 191, and Lane trailing in third with 171.
“I was very impressed with these three applicants,” Board Chair Phil Oxendine said.
Commissioner Jason Bashaw added, “I was impressed by the caliber of applicants and I hope that we can negotiate something with these folks and move Suwannee County in the right direction.”
Commissioner Clyde Fleming tipped his hat to all the candidates.
“We got some very good applicants, and it’s so hard (to make a decision) because every one of them did a very good job (in the interviews),” he said.
“The interviews, I thought, went well. Actually, I was pretty excited today after hearing a lot of them had a lot of energy, a lot of great ideas that we haven’t thought of. I’m looking forward to it,” Commissioner Ricky Gamble said.
Commissioner Wesley Wainwright said he was pleased with the interviews for the position.
“To be honest with you, I was kind of discouraged and wasn’t really excited about the applicants that we had, although on paper some of them looked, you know, OK. But I was pleasantly surprised, very pleased, with the folks we interviewed today,” Wainwright said. “They all were really outstanding. Any of those individuals would serve this county well.”