The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors accepted the resignation of Special District Services as its management company, effective immediately, at a reconvened meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1, after District Manager John “Woody” Wodraska indicated he no longer wanted the position.
Special District Services accepted the position four months ago after the board fired former District Manager Jim Shallman and former Finance Director Don Rinzel.
Special District Services President and Jupiter Mayor Todd Wodraska, the son of Woody Wodraska, reminded the board that at its October meeting, it had decided to enact a 60-day termination clause in its contract.
“We didn’t really get into the legality of the transition with Woody leaving and what it would look like, although we had a little back-and-forth, and so I’m here to say that we, as a company, will do whatever you like,” Todd Wodraska said. “I know that he would like today to be his last meeting, and I’m here to tell you that we’ll happily sever our relationship today at no cost to the district.”
Todd Wodraska said Special District Services would honor the contract and temporarily place another manager from the company, but the board passed on that offer.
Supervisor Gary Dunkley said he would prefer to end the contract immediately.
“I learned a lot from you while you were here, and glad that we’re able to sever our relationship, as I suggested last time, early without any penalties or any other cost,” Dunkley said. “I agree with that and thank you for your service.”
Supervisor Ralph Bair said he was grateful for the brief service that the company had provided.
“I appreciate your setting us straight a little bit and going from there,” Bair said.
Supervisor Betty Argue also thanked Woody Wodraska for his leadership in his brief time there.
“I want to thank you, Woody, because I think that under tremendous circumstances, you have always remained professional, and you have provided some direction, Argue said. “I really appreciate that.”
ITID President Jennifer Hager said she thought there were two options the board could consider: to allow Special District Services to appoint someone in Woody Wodraska’s place to continue until the board could find a replacement, or to have Director of Operations & Maintenance Rob Robinson stand in until the board can find a replacement.
“I would personally recommend Rob to stand in until we find someone,” Hager said. “If he’s interested in applying for that position as district manager, then he can do so formally. I think he has done an excellent job. He has a good rapport with everyone, and he has been nothing but professional. I think that’s a good fit.”
Supervisor Carol Jacobs pointed out that Robinson is still on probation in his current position, and Parks & Recreation Director Tim Wojnar had the longest time in service to the district.
“[Robinson’s] doing an excellent job, but if we need someone in that spot, I think our parks and rec [director] would be the best,” Jacobs said. “He has been here the longest, and he’s a great guy. He’s one of those directors who basically does everything.”
Wojnar, however, was not at the meeting, because there were no parks and recreation items on the reconvened meeting’s agenda.
Hager said she would not have any objections to Wojnar, but would prefer that he be there to accept or turn down an offer.
Bair said he would prefer to sever the Special District Services contract that evening and ask Robinson to fill in at least as interim manager.
Argue asked human relations attorney Lara Donlon whether the board can remove Robinson from his probationary period and appoint him as interim manager, and Donlon said the board could waive probation if it wanted to.
Argue made a motion, seconded by Bair, to appoint Robinson interim manager and waive its policy on probation periods.
Dunkley said he agreed that the Special District Services contract should be severed that evening, but thought making Robinson manager that night was premature.
“I think we should wait until the next meeting,” he said. “In that time, we can digest what has just happened and be able to put in a replacement.”
Argue said she felt Robinson was fully qualified to act as interim manager, adding that the district should not go for two weeks without a manager.
Hager agreed, noting that the office needs a point person that employees can go to.
“I’m considering it temporary,” she said. “I don’t know that he really wants to do it all the time, but there needs to be someone who is capable of that task. To me, it seems that he would fit the bill.”
Hager called the motion, and it carried with no objections.
Todd Wodraska said he would send a final invoice for his company’s services, and suggested that the board discuss Robinson’s compensation.
Bair suggested a 10 percent raise on his current salary of about $86,000. Robinson said that was acceptable for the interim position, and it was approved 5-0.
Woody Wodraska congratulated the board on making a good decision.
“I wish you good luck and good night,” he said.