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IDA appoints interim director

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 2, 2011
  • East County
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — Members of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority board have tapped a top Town Hall manager as the entity’s interim executive director and have decided to hire an outside search firm to assist in hiring a permanent replacement.

During a meeting Jan. 27, members of the IDA appointed Director of Finance Steve Zielinski as Town Hall’s interim executive director, effective Jan. 31. Town Hall’s current Executive Director Bob Fernandez announced his resignation Jan. 18 and will work alongside Zielinksi during the next few weeks to better prepare for the transition.

Fernandez’ last day is Feb. 18.

“I think from the day-to-day standpoint, we can get through the next few months without a whole lot of disruption,” IDA Chairman Tom Green said.

Fernandez agreed, noting Town Hall directors and staff members are equipped to handle day-to-day operations in his absence.

“I feel more confident now than ever (about that),” he said. “I have every reason to believe the show will go on smoothly.”

Additionally, board members agreed to hire a search firm to handle advertising the job posting and the initial resume review process to help ensure objectivity and fairness. Green said the roughly $20,000 cost for the service is covered in the budget.

The board will reconvene at 1 p.m., Feb. 7, to review proposals from prospective search firms and to hear from representatives of those companies.

Although it has been about four years since Fernandez joined the IDA and began leading the community through the transition from developer-controlled to resident-controlled, Fernandez said the IDA should not “water down” its original job description. The next executive director still will need to develop policies and procedures for managing the community as it continues its transition.

In response to supervisors’ inquiries, Fernandez said “must haves” for the applicant include local government experience in Florida because of its unique Sunshine and public record laws, strong negotiating skills, the ability to manage multiple boards’ priorities well and a “backbone” to carry out the board’s policies, among other attributes. He also is recommending candidates have at least 10 years of chief executive experience.

“My county experience has served me well in this job,” Fernandez said, noting his Community Association Manager license also proved helpful. “It’s a very complex situation (here).”

In Lakewood Ranch, the community manager will have to work to balance the priorities of four community development district boards, as well as the IDA’s, along with dealing with the community’s various homeowner’s associations and other entities.

“The most important thing is an intangible thing,” Fernandez said. “You are going to have to (figure out) which person is the best fit for you.”

Green said the hiring process would take at least six to eight weeks.

Zielinski will receive a 10% increase in pay while serving in his interim post.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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