Lakewood Ranch Herald

Lakewood Ranch officials say farewells for Fernandez

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Officials meeting Thursday at Town Hall thanked their departing executive director, Bob Fernandez, and announced meetings Monday to expedite a search for his successor.

One after another, the area’s Community Development District boards thanked Fernandez for his service, and wished him well.

The Lakewood Ranch District 2 board made a motion of appreciation honoring Fernandez, who resigned last month, effective today.

“Bob, we heartily thank you,” said Supervisor Kathleen Grant.

Fernandez, smiling broadly and resplendent in a purplish tie, replied, “It’s been my pleasure working with this board and the other boards in Lakewood Ranch.”

Later, during a meeting with the Inter-District Authority, which oversees Lakewood Ranch Town Hall operations, Fernandez presented an engagement letter for its use in recruiting candidates for the job.

The letter contains a brief outline of the process and costs associated with the recruitment of a new executive director. It was unanimously adopted by the authority board, pending approval by its attorney.

The letter suggested a work plan that search firm Colin Baenziger & Associates could follow, including recruitment, review and selection of finalists, and such items as contract negotiation.

Authority Chair Tom Green said he hoped the search would only take 60 days or so.

Green said the $20,000 the authority is paying the search firm will come from savings that accrue while the post remains vacant.

“Without having to pay an executive director’s salary, no additional money is needed in the budget,” he said.

Fernandez was paid $144,000 per year, while the new manager will be paid $120,000-160,000 annually, depending on his or her experience and other factors, said Green.

“The work you and your staff have done has been really outstanding,” he told Fernandez as the authority board bid him farewell.

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