The director of the city of Ocala, Sandra Wilson, has always been a public servant.
In recent weeks, Wilson has faced a public backlash from, among others, members of Ocala City Council who said they were caught off guard by the sacking of former Ocala Fire Chief Shane Alexander . Alexander’s replacement, Clint Welborn, was officially announced as Ocala’s new fire chief on Friday, July 9.
Wilson spoke officially in June about his past, which includes decades of work in human resources and city management.
During this presentation, Wilson indicated that her public service employment began at the age of 18 when she started working at the Eustis City Clerk’s office whe simultaneously enrolled at Lake-Sumter State College (formerly Lake Sumter Community College).
After earning his associate’s degree from college, Wilson received his BA from St. Leo University before becoming Clerk of the Town of Lady Lake. During her tenure as a clerk, Wilson says she wore a variety of hats, including that of Chief of Staff, among others. While he was working at Lady Lake, Wilson received his first master’s degree in human resources development.
This led to her becoming the first professional director of human resources for Lauderdale Lakes in South Florida.
In January 2000, Wilson came to the city of Ocala and assumed the role of director of human resources.
Soon after, she obtained her master’s degree in business administration (MBA), something that she says she decided to continue due to growing interest in business.
She headed the human resources department at Ocala for 11 years.
After her stint at the head of this department, she moved to the City Manager‘s Office as chief of staff bbefore becoming deputy, then deputy, general manager.
Last summer, Wilson was appointed Ocala city manager after temporarily holding the post while the city sought the replacement of former city manager John Zobler. Zobler resigned in November 2019.
At the Ocala City Council meeting on July 6, a surprise motion to terminate Wilson’s contract with the city was narrowly defeated by a 3-2 vote.
Before the termination motion was brought forward by Ocala City Council Chairman Justin Grabelle, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who had no voting rights in the termination, officially said he had asked Wilson if she had spoken directly to Alexander about the termination.
Guinn says Wilson said she didn’t because “[Alexander] would deny it.
Over the past 12 months, the city of Ocala has replaced its city manager, police chief and now its fire chief.
Shane Alexander was fired at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, June 25.
Five members of the Ocala City Council, the mayor and the president of the Ocala firefighters union have spoken publicly to clarify that they have no knowledge or discussion of Alexander’s performance, the reasons for the dismissal or any idea that a layoff was in question before June 25. .