City Manager Jennifer Bramley said she and her husband wanted to call Dunedin home after their first visit.
DUNEDIN –City Manager Jennifer Bramley was sworn into office Sept. 21, and city of Dunedin commissioners praised Interim City Manager Doug Hutchens for his integrity and service to city government.
Bramley, a former Coral Springs administrator who commissioners selected in June to be city manager, “got indoctrinated by fire,” having being involved in visioning sessions during her first week in office and then serving while Hurricane Irma struck the area, Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said.
“We couldn’t be luckier to have you here at this time,” she said. “I’m personally proud that we have hired our first permanent woman as a city manager.”
That’s not what commissioners were considering when they made their decision.
“It just so happened to be that week,” Bujalski said. “I’m glad I was part of that.”
Bramley said she and her husband were impressed on their first visit to Dunedin.
“We both agreed that this is some place we really want to call home,” Bramley said, hoping to be city manager for the next 10 years.
She said Irma was a baptism under fire for her, but she was impressed with the city staff’s dedication and commitment.
“That completely solidified everything that I was hoping for in a city staff … .” Bramley said.
All commissioners praised Hutchens, who held the interim city manager’s post since former city manager Rob DeSpirito left in January 2016.
Commissioner Moe Freaney, a former Dunedin administrator, said she has worked with Hutchens for about 20 years
“As I said to Jennifer (Bramley) many times, there couldn’t be a better second in command,” Freaney said, “because of your integrity. You’re not a gamer. You’re a guy that plays it’s straight.”
She said she was glad that Hutchens was in that seat during a critical time.
Ward Bujalski said Hutchens was offered the position at a time the city no longer had a leader, and there were five commissioners with different views and personalities.
To find somebody to fill that void was a daunting task for the commission, she said.
“But there really was only one person in our city that we could think of that was the right person for the job, and that was Doug,” she said.
He has been with the city for more than 30 years, she said, complimenting him for building a level of trust for the commission and department heads.
“The idea that he stills wants to be here and still wants to be a deputy city manager makes me very happy,” she said. “I know you will be an exceptional asset to Jennifer, our current city manager.”
Hutchens said he really enjoyed serving as interim city manager.
“I think we accomplished collectively as a commission, city manager’s office and department heads a lot of meaningful things along the way. Perhaps we didn’t get the style points we could have gotten. But we got there,” he said, thanking his department heads for their work.
He said he looked forward to working with Bramley. He plans to retire in three years.