Jonathan Lewis confirmed as assistant county administrator
He finally gets to remove “interim” from his title: County Administrator Tom Harmer has appointed Matt Osterhoudt as the new director of the county’s Planning and Development Services (PDS) Department, effective March 6.
Osterhoudt has been employed with the county for 17 years, a news release says. He has been interim director of Planning and Development Services for six months — since the summer of 2016. He replaced Tom Polk, who became the county’s impact fees administrator.
Previously, Osterhoudt served as senior manager for PDS, overseeing development services and environmental protection, a county news release notes.
Osterhoudt earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University, the release adds.
“Matt has shown during his time as interim director that he is a strong leader who empowers his staff to approach their jobs with effective methods and a One Team approach,” said Harmer in the release. “I’m looking forward to Matt leading the department in the future with a focus on customer service.”
As director, Osterhoudt is responsible for all oversight of planning, zoning, land development, neighborhood services, the Englewood Community Redevelopment Agency, environmental protection, the Code Enforcement Division and building-related services, the release explains.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this position and to continue serving the citizens of Sarasota County,” said Osterhoudt in the release. “I’m also honored to work with such talented and dedicated people, who strive every day to make Sarasota County a premier community.”
In addition to announcing Osterhoudt’s appointment, Harmer informed the County Commission in a Feb. 24 email that he was making other changes in Planning and Development Services. First, he noted, he has created an ombudsman/customer service position, with plans calling for that employee to report to Osterhoudt. Additionally, Harmer wrote, he has assigned a countywide coordinator to the county’s Development Review Committee. Members of that group — representing various departments — offer initial reviews and suggestions to developers primarily proposing new projects.
Further, Osterhoudt’s former position has been reclassified to a new manager position, which will oversee operations related to planning, zoning, neighborhood services and land development, Harmer wrote. “Recruitment will start immediately for that position,” he added.
During the County Commission’s regular meeting on Feb. 28, Harmer sought the board’s confirmation of North Port City Manager Jonathan Lewis as assistant county administrator, replacing Jonathan Evans. The board’s approval is required by the Sarasota County Charter, Harmer explained.
A couple of weeks ago, Evans was named the new city manager in Riviera Beach in Palm County.
Harmer pointed out to the commissioners that Lewis has been with the City of North Port about six years. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mr. Lewis here and in Brevard County,” Harmer noted.
Lewis’ resume — which was included in the board’s meeting packet — said he worked for the City of Palm Bay as well as the Town of Belleaire after beginning his career in government in 1998. Palm Bay is in Brevard County.
Commissioner Charles Hines made the motion to confirm Lewis, Commissioner Mike Moran seconded it, and the motion passed unanimously.
Chair Paul Caragiulo then said, “I’d like to extend a thank you and best wishes to Mr. Evans. In the short time he’s been here, he’s been a really good communicator.”
Evans began work with the county in August 2016. His last day is March 3, Harmer noted.