Mike Snyder chief exec OOCEA says he will go... next March at age 65
By Peter Samuel
Mike Snyder executive director of the Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority says he's resigning effective March 7 next, his 65th birthday. His departure had been loudly called for by Teresa Jacobs, the mayor of Orlando and another board member. That meant at least two of the five person board were likely to vote for his ouster.
Jacobs presenting a critical report from a city finance officer blamed Snyder for losses suffered by the Authority from investments in derivatives and swaps, and its weakened financial condition. These have had to be written off after the 2007 financial crisis.
And, the Mayor said, area motorists were being asked to pay higher tolls because of the losses she blamed Snyder for.
Snyder did not respond publicly to the Mayor's criticism but his supporters said it was unfair to single him out. They said such financial instruments were regarded as prudent at the time. Also others were involved in the decision. Hindsight criticism is easy, they said.
In a letter today addressed to Walter Ketcham, chairman of the OOCEA board Snyder says:
"While I stand steadfastly behind my service to our organization, I recognize that my service has become a distraction (from) the good work of the Expressway Authority. Therefore I have decided to retire and will resign my position as Executive Director."
He is 65 March 7th next year, and he says he is retiring then under the terms of his employment contract with full severance pay and benefits.
Sndyer has been chief executive since the retirement of Hal Worrall in 2004.
OOCEA has been very controversial over the past couple of years because of the Wekiva Parkway project - a belt route in the northwest of the area that at $1.8 billion seems very expensive. Critics have said traffic will fall so far short of supporting the project it could jeopardize the financial position of the Authority. Most of its established tollroads are heavily trafficked and make money.
In his letter Snyder mentions the Weiva Parkway as the major focus of his work. He had "dedicated countless hours" to working on a "funding partnertship" with Florida DOT. Progress had been made but, he says: "there are still legal challenges to work through."
copy of Snyder's resignation letter: