Anderson named new director of Sarasota County’s Public Works Department

He served as interim director after Isaac Brownman took a job last summer with the Town of Longboat Key

The new Sarasota County ‘org’ chart is scheduled to be effective as of Oct. 1. Image courtesy Sarasota County

With no fanfare last week, a long-time Sarasota County employee saw the “interim” dropped from his title just four months after his boss went through the same type of transition.

On May 24 — the day before the County Commission held its most recent budget workshop — county staff released a new “org” chart, with County Administrator Jonathan Lewis at the top. A note at the bottom said the positions would be in effect as of Oct. 1, when the 2019 fiscal year begins. Nonetheless, the list of department directors indicated that Spencer Anderson, 42, was the leader of Public Works.

Lewis confirmed that, in a manner of speaking — literally — when he introduced Anderson as the public works director during the commission’s May 25 budget workshop.

County Media Relations Officer Drew Winchester confirmed to The Sarasota News Leaderthis week that an announcement about Anderson went out to county employees on May 24.

Spencer Anderson looks at a slide during a May 25 presentation to the County Commission. News Leader photo

Earlier in the week, Anderson still had “interim” as part of his title in memos to the County Commission regarding May 22 and May 23 agenda items. One memo for the May 23 meeting included “county engineer” as part of his title.

As former Public Works Director and Chief County Engineer Isaac Brownman was preparing to leave county employment on July 28, 2017, then-County Administrator Tom Harmer announced that a national search was underway for Brownman’s replacement.

A 17-year county employee, Brownman became the public works director for the Town of Longboat Key. As it turned out, Harmer once again is Brownman’s boss, as Harmer also left county employment to become manager of the Town of Longboat Key.

In a May 30 email, responding to News Leaderquestions, Winchester reported that Anderson’s salary is $123,011.20.

Anderson began his employment with the county as an engineer trainee in November 2000, Winchester added. Anderson was a senior manager prior to being named Public Works Department director, Winchester noted.

Prior to Brownman’s departure, one of Anderson’s more visible roles was in overseeing the county’s mowing program.

Siesta Key leaders also came to know Anderson about six years ago when he was oversaw the early stages of a stormwater project adjacent to Siesta Public Beach. Because stormwater runoff had led to a number of “no swim” advisories at the beach, the initiative was designed to include an outfall pipe in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project also was planned as a means of minimizing occasional flooding on Beach Road as a result of tidal influences on the county’s stormwater treatment system.

More recently, Anderson has been highly visible at County Commission meetings as staff has worked on a proposed swap of River Road to the state in exchange for the county taking over authority of roads on Siesta Key. Last week, Anderson indicated that staff believes the Florida Department of Transportation will make that swap official before the county’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.