Steamboat Springs A tight group of Floridians are proving to be a benefit for county and town officials looking for qualified personnel to fill needed positions.
Today, the Routt County Commissioners are expected to pass a motion to hire Janice Joan Ling as the public safety dispatch and communications director for the county, ending a tedious search that has lasted for months, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
Ling comes surprisingly qualified, with 11 years of experience in a similar position in Deland, Fla., and 17 years of experience as a police officer in Florida.
How did the county find such a diamond in the rough?
From Oak Creek sort of.
Stahoviak was on the town manager hiring committee for Oak Creek at the beginning of the year. She was checking references of the town's future manager, Ray Leibensperger. Leibensperger, who is from Deland, Fla., put Tom Ling as a reference.
"I called him and got the reference information on Ray," Stahoviak said. "Then (Tom) told me that he and his wife almost moved to Colorado last year."
As it turns out, Tom's wife, Janice, had nearly received a communication's director job in Boulder, but the city decided to promote from within. Stahoviak told Tom about the job, and the rest is history. But the Florida connection doesn't stop there.
"You can blame this all on my daughter," Leibensperger said.
Leibensperger was informed about applying for the Oak Creek town manager position from his daughter, who is married to John Chapman. Chapman was a police officer in Steamboat Springs and was hired by the Routt County Sheriff's Office in March. Both are former Florida residents.
Furthermore, Tom Ling (Leibensperger's reference and good friend) is applying for the vacant Oak Creek chief of police position.
Leibensperger admitted it does look like the flat-landers are invading.
"I commend Ray on how he's handling this situation," Stahoviak said.
She said he has been adamant about going by the book and being objective about the hiring process.
A hiring committee is still being put together to review the candidates for the position, Stahoviak said.
As far as the influx of Floridians in key roles in the county, Stahoviak said it might be a good thing.
"We probably need to offset all the Vermont people who have come to town," she jokingly said, referring to Steamboat City Manager Paul Hughes and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond. Both hail from Vermont.