With a stroke of the pen last week, County Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson made Randall H. Reid the new county administrator.
Because Reid had to give 60 days notice to the Alachua County Commission to leave his position as manager of that county, he is expected to begin work in Sarasota Jan. 23, 2012.
“I am excited about it, and I look forward to his coming and bringing us a fresh perspective,” Patterson said. “I think he’s a very capable and respected administrator, and I think we deserve no less.”
She added Reid is eager to get to know Sarasota County residents.
“I think people will be seeing a lot of him (after he arrives),” she said.
Patterson unveiled Reid’s hiring during the Siesta Key Association’s Dec. 1 meeting. Reid was the top choice of four finalists for the position held by Jim Ley for 14 years before he resigned in late May.
Knowing the SKA’s concerns about quality of life on the Key, Patterson added of Reid: “He has a definite environmental bent … which makes him very fitting for Sarasota County. And he got rave reviews (from members of the Alachua County business community).”
Reid’s employment agreement could not be finalized until he passed a physical and completed a final background check, she explained. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh reported about two weeks ago Reid had cleared those last hurdles, so the county had sent him the formal contract to sign. Once that came back last week, all that was needed was Patterson’s signature.
The three-year contract calls for an annual base salary of $190,000 for Reid, whose yearly pay as Alachua County manager was $169,686.19.
Ley’s salary, when he left the county in the wake of a Procurement Department scandal, was $214,614.40, according to DeMarsh; it included $12,000 in lieu of an auto allowance.
DeMarsh added Ley’s salary had not increased for the three previous years before his departure.
Reid will be eligible for a pay increase after each annual review by the County Commission. He also will be reimbursed $500 per month for use of his personal vehicle for county business. In Alachua County, he was given the option of using a county vehicle for work-related purposes or receiving a monthly allowance of $450 for use of his own vehicle. In Sarasota County, Reid’s contract also allows him to be reimbursed for up to $2,400 a year in work-related expenses.
The contract includes a tighter termination clause than the one that was in effect for Ley. Reid could be terminated for “gross negligence in the handling of county affairs; willfully disregarding a direct and lawful order, demand or policy of the (County Commission)” and other acts, including the violation of a county charter section regarding “political activity.”
Ley’s contract stated he could be terminated for cause only if he were convicted of a felony or any serious misdemeanor “involving … moral turpitude.”
Ley’s contract, which had been updated in November 2008, also stated if he were terminated for any reason other than cause, the county had to pay him a lump sum equivalent to his annual salary and benefits for one year. The proposed contract for Reid stated if the board elects to terminate him for any reason other than cause, the county will pay him a lump sum equivalent to his salary, deferred compensation and health care insurance for 20 weeks at the rate in effect at that time.
When the County Commission May 25 accepted Ley’s resignation, it agreed to a severance package that totaled about $305,000, including accrued vacation time and continued health benefits.
Reid’s Alachua County contract, dated Oct. 26, 1999, said the County Commission could terminate his employment if at least three of the commissioners voted to do so. In that event, Reid would be entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 12 months of his base salary and any deferred compensation. (The contract specified that the county contribute 5% of his base salary each year into a deferred compensation program.)