Head of agency overseeing expressways in Orlando area resigning early

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The head of the agency that oversees expressways in the Orlando area is resigning early next year, acknowledging controversies surrounding the agency’s debt load, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.

Mike Snyder said in a Monday letter to the chairman of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority that he’ll step down as executive director of the authority in March, when he turns 65 and would be able to retire anyway.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs recently called for Snyder’s resignation following questions that were raised about how much debt the agency was carrying. The authority is holding about $1 billion in shaky bonds that critics said were to blame for increases in tolls.

Jacobs had cited a recent downgrade by Moody’s of the authority’s debt and concerns raised in a grand jury report two years ago about the culture at the authority allowing for corruption.

“While I steadfastly stand behind my service to our organization and our community, I recognize that my service has become a distraction to the good work of the Expressway Authority,” Snyder wrote in the letter to the chairman, Walter Ketcham.

Snyder has headed the agency since 2004.

In addition to the 2009 grand jury report that suggested the culture of corruption at the agency, Snyder has been one of several expressway authority heads who has come under a legislative microscope for his salary. Snyder makes $247,000 a year.

Just last month a state Senate committee raised concerns that Snyder and others were making so much while state officials were trying hard to balance budgets without deep service cuts

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