At the October 15th meeting, the Leon County Commission voted to establish a short list of four candidates to interview for the soon to be vacant County Attorney position.
The vote came after a long discussion about changing the process so that more people could apply for the position. However, consensus could not be reached around a different approach and so the Leon County Commission voted to move forward with the recommended list.
The current County Attorney, Herbert W.A. Thiele, was hired in February 1990 and on March 20, 2015 informed the Board of County Commissioners that he plans to retire effective March 31, 2020.
The short list includes Cynthia Everett, Mark Moriarty, Chasity O’Steen, and LaShawn Riggans. Bios for the candidates are provided below.
The next step in the hiring process will be individual commissioner interviews which will be conducted on October 29, 2019 from 8:00 to 11:30. These interviews will be followed by full Leon County Commission interviews beginning at 12:30 p.m and the preferred candidate will be determined
The target start date for the new County Attorney is February 3rd or March 2nd 2020.
The four recommended candidates are presented below in alphabetical order along with a brief overview of each candidate’s qualifications and experience:
•Cynthia Everett: 37 years of experience practicing law, including 7 years of experience serving as the City Attorney for Opa-Locka and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 14 additional years of experience practicing local government law in private practice including serving as the Village Attorney for Pinecrest, Florida on a contract basis. Also served for 6 years as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida and 7 years as Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. Member of the Florida Bar in good standing with Board certification in Labor and Employment Law.
•Mark Moriarty: 23 years of experience as in-house legal counsel for three Florida municipalities. Served as Assistant City Attorney for Fort Myers, Florida from 1996 to 2014; City Attorney of North Port, Florida from 2014 to 2017; and Assistant City Attorney for Cape Coral, Florida from 2017 to present. Member of the Florida Bar in good standing and is a Board-Certified Specialist in City, County, and Local Government Law. Served as Past Chair of the City, County, and Local Government Law Section of the Florida Bar.
•Chasity O’Steen: 16 years of experience practicing law, including 5 years of experience serving as General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Financial Services, and the Florida Department of Management Services. 10 years of experience practicing local government law in private practice with Sniffen & Spellman, P.A., Rose, Sundstrom & Bentley, LLP (now Sundstrom & Mindlin, LLP), and Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A. Member of the Florida Bar in good standing. Board-Certified in City, County and Local Government Law, 2012-2016.
•LaShawn Riggans: 13 years of experience practicing law, including 8+ years of legal experience with Leon County Government. Served as Assistant County Attorney beginning in 2011 and was promoted in 2017 to Deputy County Attorney. 5 years of experience serving as Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s First Judicial Circuit. Member of the Florida Bar in good standing.