Category: News

New County Administrator for Indian River County Confirmed

April 5, 2023

On March 23rd, 2023, the Indian River County Commissioners voted to confirm John Titkanich, the former city manager of Cocoa, FL to be the new county administrator for Indian River County. Some Indian River County residents were disappointed with Titkanich being appointed over another candidate Phil Matson, finding that he would have been the one to be picked for the role over Titkanich.

Matson was not confirmed because three of the County Commissioners, Susan Adams, Laura Moss, and Joe Earman, insisted on having an outsider as county administrator. Earman defended his decision by saying that “Phil is really good at what he does. But after all these years with the county, he’s ingrained in the system”. Earman continued, “I felt we needed to look outside and get a different perspective from someone who can view things from 20,000 feet instead of from down the hall.”

Adams agreed, saying that she was also “looking for a fresh set of eyes,” since, “with new people, you get new ideas and new directions,” instead of, “being tied to how we’ve always done things, which is not necessarily the best way.”

Moss also insisted that her choice was the right decision because the county only operated under administrators who rose through the ranks for nearly 20 years. “When you go for decades and it’s all internal,” Moss said, “you can benefit by bringing someone who sees things from a different point of view.”

Commissioners Joe Flescher and Deryl Loar, however, disagreed. They strongly advocated for hiring Phil Matson as County Administrator since they believed that he had the right qualifications for the job. Flescher and Loar have also expressed concern that by not giving Matson the job as County Administrator, the county commission was sending the message to younger department heads that their hard work will not be rewarded. “We’ve got a guy who excels at his job, has been loyal to the county, knows the area and the people, and who has been instrumental in making the county what it is,” Loar said. “Now we’re telling him, ‘Sorry, we’re going to get someone else from the outside.’”

Flescher was also unhappy about the search process, but he did not have the votes to start over. “There wasn’t support for that,” he said, even though “everyone but the internal candidate had reason to give you pause.” In the end, Flescher nominated former Cocoa City Manager John Titkanich to be the County Administrator, this time, receiving a unanimous vote. Flescher made sure that the votes were unanimous to give Titkanich the confidence that he had the full support of the county commission. “When you accept a job like that,” Flescher said, “you should know you’re the guy they wanted.”

If you like this article, please share it.

If you would like to support the work of Indian River News, click here to go to our SubscribeStar page to become a Subscriber today. Your monthly contribution will help Indian River News continue its Journalism and News Reporting in Indian River County.