New Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid received a standing ovation Tuesday morning after board Chairwoman Christine Robinson introduced him to the audience, which filled more than two-thirds of the Commission Chambers.
“Today is a special day for us,” Robinson said.
“I believe very strongly in representative democracy,” Reid said. “My office and communication (with the public) will be as open as they can (be).”
When he arrived Monday morning at the Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard, Reid said his first thought was, “It’s invigorating, from the standpoint of starting something new.”
Crystal Pruitt, interim director of the county’s Communications Department, said she arrived at work at 7 a.m. Monday, and Reid was already there.
Reid told members of the news media during a briefing Monday afternoon that he already was meeting employees, though he knew a number of them from professional organizations in which he had participated as manager of Alachua County — the position he held for 12 years before coming to Sarasota.
“We have a lot of people (in Sarasota County government) who, I think, have a great deal of potential,” he said, adding that many of those not involved in the Procurement Department scandal that came to light last year, nonetheless, had suffered because of the negative focus on the county.
“I hope to correct the problems and restore the values,” he said.
Reid ‘injured in action’ first day
New Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid raised eyebrows among audience members during the County Commission meeting Tuesday morning when he hesitated to join his new bosses for a presentation at the front of the chambers.
Reid said he was afraid he had a broken his foot.
Tuesday afternoon, he said he had hurt his right foot over the weekend while moving boxes. After checking Internet medical sites, Reid said he believed he had stretched a tendon connecting his ankle to his toes.
Then, Monday, his first day on his new job, Reid was walking down a hallway in the county Administration Center when he felt the tendon pop.
He doesn’t have county health insurance yet — he just applied for it Monday — so he braved his first commission meeting Tuesday with the ailing tendon. He was visibly limping.
Fortunately, an area physician called Reid’s office during the morning part of the meeting, after hearing Reid’s remark while watching video streaming of the session. The doctor told a staff member he would be happy to offer his services.
Reid planned to take that offer as soon as the Tuesday meeting ended.
“It hurts pretty bad, but I don’t have any sick days yet to use and don’t want to show any signs of weakness,” Reid said with a laugh. “It’s nice to know Sarasota County has such friendly residents.”
— Kurt Schultheis