Longboat Key town commissioners on Monday gave their outgoing town manager permission to “pursue” Tom Harmer, the Sarasota County Administrator, as a candidate for the job.
Dave Bullock, Longboat Key’s manager since 2011, announced this year his planned retirement in early 2018. Longboat commissioners this month discussed how to proceed with replacing him. In a public meeting, Commissioner Jim Brown stressed the benefits of seeking local candidates who, like Bullock, understand the intricacies and nuances of overseeing day-to-day business on Longboat.
A county spokesman on Monday said Harmer was focused on the county budget process and was not available for comment. He said Harmer had not been contacted by Longboat Key officials.
Brown called Harmer a "very personable person" who has done "an excellent job" with Sarasota County. Brown said he believes Harmer would be a good fit for the town.
"I hope he's interested," Brown said.
Harmer has been with Sarasota County government since 2012, coming to the deputy administrator position from the private sector. He became county administrator in 2014. Harmer has more than 30 years in local government, including eight as city manager of Titusville, adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast. He previously served as that city’s fire chief and emergency manager. He held similar roles in Tallahassee.
Bullock was a deputy administrator for Sarasota County for 14 years before accepting the Longboat Key job. Harmer’s and Bullock’s time with the county did not overlap.
Longboat Key in late May hired Isaac Brownman as the town’s new public works director, beginning in August. Brownman worked for Sarasota County for 17 years, most recently as its public works director and county engineer.
Harmer’s annual salary is $207,625. The town manager's salary in Longboat Key is $180,000.
Staff writer Cassidy Alexander contributed to this story.