Commissioners vote to fire County Administrator Reid

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SARASOTA - After less than two years on the job, Sarasota County's administrator is out of a job.

County commissioners voted 4-1 Wednesday afternoon to fire county administrator Randall Reid, effective immediately.

Commissioners Mason, Hines, Barbetta and Robinson decided to terminate Reid's contract. Commissioner Nora Patterson was the only one who voted no, saying she wanted him to remain with the county, but the consensus won. Many of the commissioners say they wanted him out of office, and that things have not improved since his arrival, but have gone the other way. They cite a lack of communication and an inability to finish projects.

“The majority of the commission didn't feel as though it was working out. There was several issues laid on the table that didn't seem to be addressed over time, and we thought that this was in the best interest of the county,” says Commissioner Christine Robinson.

Deputy county administrator Tom Harmer will be taking over on an interim basis until the commission can find a permanent administrator.

Reid did not want to speak to the media after the decision, but he did say during the comment portion of his evaluation at that meeting that he was proud of that job he did and proud to be a part of Sarasota County.

Commissioner Hines's vote was really the determining factor Wednesday. He thought Reid had done a good job, however if the vote was 3-2 Wednesday, the commission would have had to come back in a few weeks to officially decide on Reid's firing. Hines did not want Reid to be in office for a few weeks knowing he was likely going to be fired, so he decided to change his vote in favor of the firing.

Cathy Antunes, a Sarasota County resident, and President of Citizens for Responsible Government says she is disappointed by the four commissioners.

"Reid inherited a complete and total mess and it takes time to fix that. From what I heard up there, and what I witnessed, taking action to dismiss him is not at all consistant with his performance," said Antunes.

Reid started with Sarasota County in January 2012. He replaced former County Administrator Jim Ley, who resigned due to a purchasing scandal.