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The Villages
Friday, December 3, 2021

Sumter County administrator receives job performance evaluations from commissioners

Bradley Arnold

Facing a tough year as Sumter County administrator, Bradley Arnold received mostly positive performance rankings from county commissioners in his latest job evaluation.

After last year’s elections replaced three incumbent commissioners, Arnold faced the task of navigating a divided county board of commissioners.

An unsuccessful proposal to raise impact fees drew ire from the Developer, construction workers and small business owners before it was scuttled by the state legislature. A breakdown in the county’s private ambulance service caused commissioners to appoint a study committee and move the service to the county’s two fire departments.

Arnold sometimes was a target of criticism during the public forum portion of meetings.

Commissioners ranked Arnold in more than 40 performance areas in categories such as fiscal management, supervision, citizen relations and policy execution.

Arnold received nearly a perfect score from holdover commissioners Garry Breeden and Doug Gilpin and new commissioner Craig Estep.

Breeden and Gilpin praised him for offering “professional leadership in a transitional time” and “maintaining a professional approach during difficult issues and difficult people this year.”

Estep complimented Arnold on working with the new commissioners, commitment to improving road conditions and adapting to challenges. He ranked the county administrator slightly below the top ranking for listening and working with others.

“Mr. Arnold continues to improve in interpersonal communications with both public and private partners,” Estep wrote.

Commissioner Gary Search praised Arnold’s “ability to communicate and keep each board member apprised of what is happening in the county.” He ranked Arnold lower on producing reports through his own initiative.

Commissioner Oren Miller gave the harshest review, ranking Arnold below the top standard in all but 15 areas. He gave the lowest possible scores for being respected for management skills and offering workable alternatives when an ordinance or policy is impractical.

Miller praised Arnold for managing the county during the pandemic and advising him as a new commissioner.

But he said Arnold needs to improve his reputation with employees and citizens who “mistrust him.” Miller said the county administrator needs to recognize that commissioners set policy, reduce the number of employees who report to him and allow citizens to call in directly for services instead of through the call center.

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