City utility director resigns

Photo by Norman Schimmel

Interim Sarasota City Manager Terry Lewis announced a shake-up this morning, May 31, in the city’s Utilities Department. Utility Director Javier Vargas resigned yesterday after a meeting with Lewis.

“We had a difference of opinion on leadership expectations,” Lewis told The Sarasota News Leader. The resignation is effective immediately.

Lewis said he had asked Bill Hallesy, the former director of public works and utilities, to come out of retirement to fill the vacancy. Hallesy was a 25-year veteran city employee. He retired about one year ago.

Lewis said he had spoken with utility workers this morning, announcing the changes.

Vargas had been utility director for less than two years. He was appointed to the job by then-City Manager Bob Bartolotta when the Public Works and Utilities departments were split up in a reorganization.

Lewis also has asked Jessie Hubbard, a senior foreman in the Utilities Department, to stay on the job during the transition. Hubbard was scheduled to retire tomorrow.

“I convinced him to stay on,” said Lewis. “I’m sure it was a disappointment to his wife.”