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Friday, November 19, 2021

Former Ocala HR director was refused two week notice after delayed response from City Manager

Although he sent a resignation email to provide his two weeks notice on November 7, Ocala’s former human resources director was terminated on November 9, just one hour after a report about his domestic violence arrest became public.

On Thursday, November 18, in response to a public records request made on November 9, Ocala-News received a copy of the resignation letter filed by City of Ocala Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Jared Sorensen.

Sorensen’s resignation came on the heels of an arrest for domestic battery in which he allegedly struck his wife with a hair blow dryer.

On November 9, former City of Ocala Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Jared Sorensen resigned from his position following a domestic battery arrest.
Former City of Ocala Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Jared Sorensen

Although that incident took place on Friday, November 5, Sorensen was technically booked into Marion County Jail just after midnight on Saturday, November 6. He was released from the Marion County Jail at 3:44 p.m. on November 6.

According to the public records request, Sorensen emailed his resignation to City Manager Sandra Wilson and Manager of Human Resources Christopher Watt on Sunday, November 7 at 9:07 p.m. In his brief email, Sorensen expressed gratitude for the opportunity as director.

“I would like to thank you for the last 11 years at the City of Ocala. I learned a lot under your leadership and enjoyed working for the City. It is with a heavy heart that I submit my two weeks notice to resign from my position as HR and Risk Management Director. Once again, thank you for everything,” reads the email from Sorensen.

The report of Sorensen’s arrest was first made public by Ocala-News just before 12 p.m on Tuesday, November 9.

According to city records, there was no further written, official correspondence between Wilson and Sorensen until she sent him an email at 12:40 p.m. on November 9.

In that email, Wilson accepted Sorensen’s resignation and made it effective immediately.

“I accept your resignation. In lieu of a two weeks’ notice, it will become effective immediately. Thanks for your 11 years of service to the city, and I wish you well in your future endeavors,” reads the email from Wilson.

According to the city of Ocala organizational chart, the human resources director is the second highest ranking position among city administrative staff.

His high profile role makes Sorensen’s resignation the fourth major vacancy that the city of Ocala will look to fill in the past 18 months.

In July, Clint Welborn replaced Shane Alexander as Ocala Fire Rescue Chief after the latter was terminated for reasons questioned by multiple Ocala City Council members, city leaders, and members of the community.

Last November, Mike Balken took over as Chief of the Ocala Police Department after a tragic plane accident claimed the life of the late chief Greg Graham in October. A few months before that, Sandra Wilson replaced former City Manager John Zobler.