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Lakewood Ranch Community Manager Bob Fernandez resigns

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch Executive Director Bob Fernandez announced today he had submitted his resignation, effective Feb. 18.

Fernandez told those gathered for a meeting this afternoon at Town Hall that he had resigned but did not state a reason.

Fernandez resigned from his position of executive director of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority.

“It has been my privilege to serve the residents of the Lakewood Ranch community as district manager, community manager, and finally, executive director,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

“I will provide any assistance required by the IDA to ensure a smooth transition to my successor.”

When asked by a reporter whether he would be doing something else, he replied he would be but declined to say anything more or to specify his reasons for resigning.

Fernandez has been Lakewood Ranch’s top manager since May 2007.

Fernandez came to Manatee in 1977 as assistant county administrator and helped establish the first county administrative staff. He was county administrator from 1982 to 1985.

Fernandez left Manatee in 1985 and took the county manager job in Alachua County, then moved to the same job in Collier County, followed by Osceola County.

He returned to Manatee in 2003 to become a vice president at Manatee County Rural Health Services.

Jean Stewart, a member of the Interdistrict Authority, which represents Lakewood Ranch residents, said, “We’ve got to find somebody to replace him, and that will be a tough job.”

Stewart said it was her understanding that Fernandez lived north of Tampa, and had had a very long commute each day. She said he had told her that if he had been living here, it would have been different.

Shirley Surowiec, a past president of the Summerfield Resident Homeowners Association, said, “I’m surprised,” but added, “I will not say I’m sad. Maybe some good will come.”

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.

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