MANATEE -- After the community services department director left Manatee County government, Cheri Coryea, the county's neighborhood services department director, will be interim director, overseeing both departments.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker announced that Coryea would be the interim director of the community services department for the immediate future in a memo sent Thursday to commissioners.
"I see this grouping of the Neighborhood Services and Community Services departments as an important one in 2016, the second year of our Southwest TIF," Hunzeker said in the memo. "During this critical time for the TIF (Tax Increment Financing District), I believe a centralized service department will help ensure the residents and business owners of Manatee County -- especially those in our targeted redevelopment areas -- are aware of the broad range of service our local government provides to the community. Cheri has a proven record of success in putting board initiatives into action and is ideally capable of leading the two departments for the immediate future."
Nick Azzara, county spokesman, said "there is not yet a plan to recruit a replacement for community services department director."
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The move comes after Brenda Rogers, who was director of the community services department for the past five years, left the county. Rogers last day was Thursday. After more than 30 years with
the county, Rogers accepted a job as district extension director with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
In 1989, Coryea began with the county in the community services department. Coryea was the children's services coordinator, helping get the Children's Services dedicated millage up and running. Hunzeker appointed Coryea as the director of a new neighborhood services department in 2007.
"Since that time, she has most notably overseen a department that includes affordable housing issues, our award-winning Public Library System and the progression of two Community Redevelopment Agencies into the new Southwest TIF district," Hunzeker said in the memo. "Cheri has also proven her outstanding leadership ability by having a direct role in the board's Economic Development incentive package that has helped create or retain more than 4,000 local jobs since launching in 2009."
As Coryea takes on the second department, she said there is "awesome set of leaders here in neighborhood services" willing to take on some additional responsibilities.
"I'm not concerned about that," Coryea said. "We work great as a team. All the community services staff are wonderful at what they do."
Coryea said as interim director of community services department, they are going to continue focusing on what Rogers was working on.
"I think it's just focusing in on some of the primary projects Brenda was working on," Coryea said. "She is going to stay in touch with me."
While all departments established goals for 2016 last October, Coryea said they are going to work on merging those ideas so they can keep focusing on the goals.
"It brings the world of social service needs and neighborhood engagement together," Coryea said. "I don't know that anybody else is doing that. I think we are going to make a big difference in that manner to our citizens."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.