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The list of hopefuls vying for the state's court administrator post has been pared from 150 to 30, including former Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis and Utah State Tax Commissioner Roger Tew.

The list will be slashed further this week to approximately a dozen names, said interim State Court Administrator Pam Greenwood.Other locally known applicants include Kevin Higgins, chief of staff for former Salt Lake County Commissioner James Bradley; Assistant State Court Administrator Mark Jones; and Tim Shay, senior counsel for the court administrative office.

The selection committee will turn over a list of finalists to the Utah Supreme Court, which will make the final choice. But the committee hasn't decided yet how many names it will turn over or when, Greenwood said.

"It will certainly be less than 12 names. We may do some interviewing ourselves," she said.

Court administrators and assistant administrators from several states have applied for the post, she said.

The previous administrator, Ronald Gibson, resigned from the job in December to become the appellate court administrator, assisting Chief Justice Michael Zimmerman in managing the state's two appeals courts.

Greenwood, an appeals court judge, took the reins until a permanent replacement could be found.

Bill Vickrey, the court administrator who initiated consolidation of the state district and circuit courts and successfully lobbied lawmakers for large appropriations, left Utah three years ago to accept a similar post running California's state courts.

But the job has changed since those years, said Zimmerman. He and two assistants work directly with lawmakers and the governor and will continue to do so.

The new administrator will focus on the daily management of the growing system, he said. "You can organize a number of ways to do a job. I think we are approaching it in a more-structured, methodical fashion. That means it perhaps requires less brilliance in dealing with the Legislature, and more day-to-day communication."

He said, "We will focus our search more on administrative skills - running a 1,000-person operation, making it more user-friendly and customer-oriented - and focus less on finding somebody who is a great lobbyist."

The post will likely be filled by the end of the year, he said.