Evans confirmed as assistant Sarasota County administrator

He will relocate from Haines City in August to replace Lee Ann Lowery

Jonathan Evans. Photo courtesy Sarasota County
Jonathan Evans. Photo courtesy Sarasota County

“Welcome to paradise,” Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson told Jonathan Evans, city manager of Haines City, just before the commission voted unanimously during its June 21 regular meeting to confirm County Administrator Tom Harmer’s hiring of Evans as an assistant county administrator.

Evans, who is scheduled to begin employment with Sarasota County on Aug. 22, will replace Assistant County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery; she will retire at the end of September after four years in her position. Lowery will have 30 years in public service in the Florida Retirement System at that time, Harmer informed the board in early December 2015.

Lowery oversees the Public Works; Planning and Development; Mosquito Control; and Housing and Community Services departments, as well as those of Environmental Resources; and Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources.

During the public comments portion of the June 21 County Commission meeting, Rick Sloan, public safety director of Haines City, told the commissioners it was a sad day for his community, but they would be making “an excellent choice” to confirm Harmer’s decision. Sloan praised Evans: “He’s very ethical, very motivated and he’s a team builder.”

After the County Commission vote, Robinson added, “My regrets to Haines City.’

Harmer told the commissioners that Evans “obviously has accepted the conditional offer [of employment that Harmer had made] or he wouldn’t be here today.”

Harmer said Evans would be returning to Haines City that day to discuss his transition with the City Commission.

Rick Sloan. News Leader photo
Rick Sloan. News Leader photo

“Departing from Haines City is undoubtedly a tough decision for me, but the values and the reputation of County Administrator Tom Harmer and his team are what resonated with me and drew me to Sarasota County,” Evans said in a news release the county issued. “I look forward to joining the county’s ‘One Team’ and being a part of the community.”

Evans is an adjunct professor at Polk State College, where he teaches public budgeting and finance, the release notes. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Central Florida, as well as an MBA from Saint Leo University, the release adds.

“He is certified as a credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association, a distinction held by only 1,300 individuals worldwide,” the release points out.

“Jonathan is extremely well-respected among his peers in local government,” said Harmer in the release. “His diverse background and practical experience as a city manager and his ability to make things happen while maintaining a positive work environment make him the right fit for Sarasota County.”

Evans began his career in public service with the City of St. Cloud, where he was recreation site supervisor, the release continues. He left there to become recreation manager/operations for the Town of Celebration, then worked as assistant to the city manager in Largo before moving to Haines City in 2012 to serve as assistant city manager, acting city manager and finally as city manager.

Evans will serve as one of three assistant county administrators for Sarasota County. The other two are Mark Cunningham and Steve Botelho, who is also the county’s chief financial management officer.