Ray Sandrock

County Administrator Raymond Sandrock announced his upcoming retirement after 20 years on the job.

Charlotte County Administrator Ray Sandrock surprised county commissioners Tuesday by announcing that he will retire in March of 2020, after more than 20 years with the county.

“I’ve totally enjoyed working with this board,” Sandrock told the commission. “I’ve been dedicated to public service in Charlotte County for the past 20 years, both through some times of real challenge and then the good times in recovery and growth.

“I feel like we have a great director leadership team that can take us into the future,” he added. “I’m really proud of the 1,200 employees that work every day so hard for the citizens.”

In a letter to the board, Sandrock wrote: “This has been a difficult decision for me as I had to weigh my family life and health versus continuing to work in public service for Charlotte County.”

Commissioners expressed surprise and appreciation.

“Ray! I just got here. Was I that bad?” joked Commissioner Joe Tiseo.

Tiseo said to Sandrock, “You kind have a way — a really good listener. I don’t know how you do it, listen to five different people, five bosses telling you maybe five different things and we have to get to one place. It’s got to be difficult. It takes a certain kind of person.”

Sandrock, 64, was hired in 1999 to be the finance director for public works. By 2006, he was director of budget and administrative services. In 2010, he was made county administrator. He joked at a 2012 performance review as the great recession took its toll, that his hair was already white when he started so he couldn’t blame the high-pressure job.

Commissioner Christopher Constance said he was still absorbing the shock.

“I knew one of these days, it was coming,” he said. “It’s really been pleasurable to get through a lot of real, hard decisions.”

Constance also advised Sandrock not to retire, but to transition, and continue to participate in local government.

Commissioner Ken Doherty said the county needs the substantial advance notice to replace Sandrock. He also acknowledged reasons to retire.

“You need to put family first, and that’s always important,” Doherty said.

Commissioner Bill Truex expressed his “complete” respect and appreciation for Sandrock.

“I will have a lot more to say when I get over the shock,” he added.

Sandrock credited his “loving and supportive wife, who’s been such a good sounding board for me.”

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