This week, the Pasco County Commission decided to seek outside help in one of the most important tasks commissioners have faced in quite a while: finding a successor to County Administrator John Gallagher, who has said he will step down after three decades on the job this April. Back in the late 1970s and '80s, the county commissioners of the day made a couple of shaky choices for county administrator before finally luring Gallagher away from his job as New Port Richey city manager. No one should want a re-run of that, so commissioners need to do a good job finding the county's next administrator.
After some commissioners appeared to signal they wanted to go it alone, they agreed Tuesday to bring in a job-search "headhunter" firm to find candidates for county administrator. The firm will compile a list of candidates it considers right for the job, and then commissioners will take things from there, including interviewing the possible choices and making the final hire.
Gallagher has made little secret of the fact he would like Chief Assistant County Administrator Michele Baker to succeed him. Since commissioners have decided to throw open the competition, bringing in the headhunters in place of the county's human resources staff is probably a good idea, too.
Pasco County is still facing enormous financial challenges. So whoever is named to succeed Gallagher has to get things right. Despite the extra expense, commissioners were wise to seek help in their quest.