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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Dec. 26, 200112:00 PM EST

The DDA opening:

maybe a short term
by: Mike Sharkey

by Mike Sharkey

Staff Writer

With the sudden announcement that Downtown Development Authority senior director Paul Krutko is leaving Jacksonville to take a more prestigious, better-paying job in San Jose, Cal., another high-level position within Mayor John Delaney’s administration is open.

Filling it might not be easy, either. Since Delaney has approximately 18 months left in his second term, they’ll have to find someone to fill a mayor-appointed position that may have a short life span.

When Mike Weinstein announced that he was stepping down as executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission last January in order to become the president and CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee, Delaney and his executive staff conducted two national searches before settling on Kirk Wendland — whose office was just down the hall.

DDA Board Chairman Jim Citrano said he doesn’t have much say in how the DDA job is filled or who gets it, but he would like to see Delaney exhaust all the resources. Since the job could technically end on July 1, 2003 — the first day of the first term of the next mayor — job stability could be a legitimate issue, regardless of who holds the position or how well they have performed.

“We need to investigate both the internal and external possibilities,” said Citrano. “There are good people in the City system that could be tapped. It will be difficult to conduct a national search to fill a position that has a limit to it.”

Citrano said a local search would probably be the best, first alternative.

“I think it needs to be considered,” said Citrano. “The money we would spend for a headhunter does not concern me as much the need to fill it with speed.”

The fact that Krutko left did not surprise Citrano at all. He said the two had a lengthy conversation last week about Krutko going to San Jose and the move appears to be in the best interests for Krutko professionally.

“He was very much in demand,” said Citrano. “The San Jose job is an excellent opportunity for him. It puts him in development, which is what he wants. I had a long talk with him and wish him only the best.”

Unlike the DDA job in which Krutko serves at the pleasure of the mayor, in San Jose he’ll be employed directly by the city manager. Citrano said Krutko could not have found a better situation. And, his present $99,750 salary will reach well into six figures with the change.

“For a guy like him, it’s a dream job,” said Citrano. “It gets him out of the politics because he was hired by the city manager. I’ve spent a lot of time in the area and it’s a beautiful city. Plus, they offered him a financial package that would choke a horse. He couldn’t turn that down.”

The mayor’s office hasn’t put a timetable on when a replacement will be named, if at all.

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