The search for a new Curry County jail administrator is down to seven applicants.
County Manager Lance Pyle said he is verifying references and will begin scheduling panel interviews with the top five candidates soon.
Pyle said he is hoping to have the position filled by April.
The position was posted Oct. 5 to start a nationwide search.
Carlos Ortiz, chief of security, has served as interim-administrator since Lois Bean was fired Sept. 9.
Ortiz is among applicants for the position.
County commissioners increased the salary range from $53,000-$79,000 to $68,000-$90,000.
The seven applicants being considered — drawn from a pool of 11 — hail from California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, Pyle said.