Deputy city manager of Lakeland chosen as new assistant Sarasota County administrator

Brad Johnson’s confirmation scheduled on June 12 County Commission agenda

Brad Johnson. Photo courtesy Sarasota County

The deputy city manager of Lakeland has accepted a conditional offer to serve as an assistant Sarasota County administrator, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis announced on June 6.

Brad Johnson, 37, has been on staff with the City of Lakeland since March 2012, a county news release says. He is expected to start in his new role with Sarasota County on July 9, filling the position left open by Lewis, whom the County Commission appointed administrator in January.

First, however, the County Commission must confirm the hiring of Johnson, a Baltimore, Md., native, the news release notes. That action is planned for the board’s June 12 meeting.

Johnson’s salary would be $163,009.60, county Media Relations Officer Drew Winchester reported.

When Lewis came on staff in April 2017, Lewis’ salary was $163,000, Winchester wrote in response to a Sarasota News Leaderquestion.

Since Lewis was named successor to County Administrator Tom Harmer— who left in early December 2017 to take the job of town manager for the Town of Longboat Key — only two people have been working with Lewis as assistants: Deputy County Administrator and Chief Financial Management Officer Steve Botelho and Assistant County Administrator Mark Cunningham. Each is responsible for specific County Commission priorities.

“Brad’s passion for public service and his experience in local government make him the ideal fit for this position,” Lewis said in the release. “We’re excited to welcome him and look forward to his contributions as the newest member of our administrative team.”

A March 2012 Lakeland Ledger article about Johnson’s hiring as assistant city manager noted his “long-time interest in city government and the mechanics of municipal America.” It added that Johnson has lived and worked in Florida since 2006.

The city of Lakeland had a population of 106,419 in 2016, according to city-data.com. Sarasota County’s population was estimated to be 407,000 permanent residents in 2017, though the number rises to more than 500,000 during high tourist season, the county’s website notes.

County Administrator Jonathan Lewis. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Prior to his post with the City of Lakeland, Johnson held leadership positions with the City of Palm Bay and the City of Holly Hill, the county news release noted. He served as public works director for the City of Holly Hill after four years in Palm Bay as a management analysis, the Ledgersaid. In 2011, Johnson returned to Palm Bay to take the position of budget administrator, the paper added.

“It’s an honor to be chosen for this distinguished position,” Johnson said in the news release, adding, “Sarasota County is an innovative organization that focuses on customer service. I’m looking forward to continuing that tradition and my career as a public servant.”

Johnson graduated from the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, where he received a Master of Public Administration degree with a focus in public management, the release continues. Additionally, he received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland.

Johnson has served on numerous advisory committees in Lakeland and on the board of directors for both the United Way of Central Florida and the Achievement Academy, the release adds. He is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXI and Leadership Polk Class X.

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