Jerome Fletcher, an assistant chief administrative officer under County Executive Marc Elrich, is leaving for a new job as city manager for North Port, Fla. His first day there will be Oct. 1. Credit: Photo from Montgomery County

This story was updated at 8:10 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2021, to add comments from County Executive Marc Elrich.

Jerome Fletcher, one of the county’s assistant chief administrative officers under County Executive Marc Elrich, has taken a new job in Sarasota County, Fla.

Fletcher, who has served as an assistant CAO since March 2019, recently signed a contract to become city manager of North Port, beginning Oct. 1, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. He will make $185,000 annually, with a chance to earn a $5,000 raise after six months.

He could not immediately be reached for comment via email or a phone call to his home in Virginia Thursday.

Fletcher’s departure marks the second time in as many months an assistant chief administrative officer has left a post in recent months in Montgomery County. Last month, Caroline Sturgis, who had served the county since March 2019, left her job.

Earl Stoddard, who was the director of emergency management and homeland security, replaced her. He is serving in an acting role until the County Council votes to confirm him. 

There are three assistant chief administrative officers under Elrich: Stoddard, Fletcher and Adriana Hochberg.

Hochberg focuses on energy and environmental protection issues, and was heavily involved in the county’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the county by 2035.

Stoddard continues to work on emergency management and health issues.

Fletcher’s area of focus is mostly economic development and small businesses, including advocating and helping create policies to help women-, minority- and veteran-led businesses.

Scott Peterson, a county spokesperson, confirmed by phone on Thursday that Fletcher is leaving. 

Fletcher’s last day with the county will be Sept. 10, and he currently earns a salary of $175,000, Peterson added.

Elrich said in an interview Thursday night that he was happy with Fletcher’s work.

Fletcher is the latest senior official leaving Elrich’s administration. Earlier this year, three of the five regional service center directors announced they were retiring. A fourth, Ken Hartman, took a new position in Elrich’s office.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, announced Wednesday he is resigning effective Sept. 12.

When asked about multiple senior officials leaving in recent months, Elrich said the coronavirus pandemic has caused not just a local, but also national, trend of county government employees considering changes in their careers, whether to advance to higher positions or something else. 

He said senior officials in his cabinet have to work with other political figures, as well.

“My personal relationship with everyone who has left has been really good, and I’ve supported them … [and] they’ve worked really well for me,” Elrich said. “[And] there are other people they have relationships with in the county.”

Elrich, who is running for re-election next year, declined to name people he was alluding to, and how their relationships with senior staff have been.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com