Sarasota News Leader

02/14/2014

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— to ask him to take over the top job on an interim basis. "It has been a fast three and a half months," Harmer told the commissioners on Feb. 11. "There is a lot of work ahead of us. I'm excited about the opportunity to work with the board in a long-term fashion." RECOGNIZING STAFF In a message Harmer sent to county staffers the day after the County Commission vote, he quoted former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell: "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." The county's new CEO credited his employ- ees with keeping the county functioning smoothly during the transition. He wrote, "I recognize that the county administrator is just one of more than 2,100 employees who make up Sarasota County Government. One person doesn't make us succeed or fail — it is the collective effort that allows us to provide the high level of ser- vice our community expects. "I feel good knowing we have made it through the initial transition without missing a beat. For that, I am thankful to all of you for focus- ing on the day-to-day business of the county. I believe the county commissioners' confi- dence in me is a direct reflection of the efforts of our employees." Harmer noted that issues and problems will arise, but he asked his staff members to learn from mistakes and "always try to do the right thing." "Sarasota County is a great community and I am excited to be part of its government," Harmer wrote in conclusion. "I look forward to working with the commission, the commu- nity and each of you." KEEPING BUSY Harmer will have a lot on his "to do" list over the next few months. In an interview with the news media after the Jan. 28 County Commission meeting, Harmer said one big challenge will be managing the county as the economy improves. During the projected eco- nomic upturn, Harmer said the county will have to address the need for increased ser- vice before higher revenue totals are realized from development and economic growth. Much of Harmer's schedule during the coming months will be focused on the budget. This year, the County Commission will hold earlier budget workshops than it has in the past. Harmer has 26 years of experience in local government, including almost eight years as city manager of Titusville, where he also was executive director of the Community Development Agency. Additionally, he has served as fire chief and emergency manager in Titusville. Prior to that, Harmer was dep- uty fire chief in Tallahassee and a firefighter/ EMT for three years in Davie, according to his resume. Just before Reid hired him as deputy adminis- trator in Sarasota County, Harmer was senior vice president of the Pizzuti Companies in Orlando, where he worked on public-pri- vate partnerships, including new industrial facilities and infrastructure adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, according to a county news release. % Sarasota News Leader February 14, 2014 Page 52

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