Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid inherited a government recovering from a purchasing scandal and struggling with a procurement contract that would eventually develop into a prominent mowing fiasco.
Reid has tweaked staffing a bit since January, but in October plans to implement a major overhaul of Sarasota County’s internal structure, which is intended to prevent similar problems from developing under his leadership. He’s also filling some new positions with people he knows personally and re-evaluating some long-terms staffers’ positions.
The idea is to break up the monopoly over management decisions leftover after former County Administrator Jim Ley’s resignation in 2011. Three assistant county administrators, two of whom have worked with Reid before, were tapped to fill part of the vacuum created during the 2011 procurement scandal.
“You had (Interim County Administrator) Dave Bullock trying to run an organization of 2,000,” Reid said of the problems that grew out of the interim between former County Administrator Jim Ley’s resignation and Reid’s move from Alachua County. “Dave, himself, would tell you it is unworkable, so what this basically does is restore some more management staff capabilities that we had lost.”
Two government veterans have been given additional duties. Sarasota County Chief Financial Officer Steve Botelho, who was most recently budget director, oversaw the hire of Suzanne Gable as director of strategic and financial planning, a position that pays $107,000 annually.
Sarasota County Public Works Director Jim Harriott will become county engineer and oversee activities in the BOB Building and the county’s capital assets group, one of the five overlapping service clusters outlined in the prospective restructuring proposal.
Reid would not comment on the fate of the deputy county administrator position being vacated by Bill Little when he retires next year, but in the organizational chart draft, the position oversees strategic planning and initiatives — directly under Reid.
Reid began filling three assistant county administrator slots in June, when he hired Thomas Harmer, who has experience in emergency services and worked with Reid in Alachua County. Also from Alachua, is Lee Ann Lowery, who joins the ranks along with new Assistant County Administrator Mark Cunningham.
“I’m building an organization for the next 10 to 20 years, not the last 10 or 20 years,” Reid said.