SEMINOLE – More than a dozen political, business and civic leaders spoke out at the Aug. 12 City Council meeting to encourage City Manager Frank Edmunds to delay his retirement.
Overwhelmed by the support, Edmunds agreed to stay in his position an additional eight months and retire Sept. 1, 2015. At the June 10 City Council meeting, he announced that he’d retire Jan. 16, 2015 to spend more time with his family and with a grandson on the way.
At the Aug. 12 meeting, the City Council voted 6-0 to change Edmunds’ vacation benefits so that he would receive one week of vacation per month until his retirement. The Council also agreed to initiate recruitment for a new city manager by April 1, 2015.
Councilor Patricia Plantamura, who has been critical of Edmunds, was absent from the meeting.
“This has been pretty difficult to sit through, but it is a compliment for a city manager to have the support of a community as has been demonstrated through this evening,” Edmunds said.
The City Council hopes that Edmunds will help the city get the Seminole Mall project off the ground and also assist with the search for his replacement.
“You’re A+. You’ve run this city beautifully and Seminole is what it is today because of you,” said Mayor Leslie Waters. “It makes my heart feel so good to see the leadership of this community come out today on your behalf.”
Those who implored Edmunds to stay included County Commissioner Janet Long; Seminole Chamber of Commerce president and City Council candidate Roger Edelman; St. Petersburg College Seminole Provost Dr. James Olliver; attorney Dennis DeLoach; and Pinellas Clerk of the Court Ken Burke.
All expressed that Seminole is at a critical juncture as the Seminole Mall redevelopment begins to move forward.
“I think he has done more for our city than anyone I know,” said Martha Mohn, a longtime resident who has been involved with numerous civic groups. “I think you need to stick it out a little longer, Frank, because we still need you.”
Long said that Edmunds “is the epitome of leadership, respect, patience, understanding, vision and everything else it takes to lead this city.”
Edelman added, “The city of Seminole today stands at a pivotal point in our future growth. Every piece of available land is being looked at for development,” and the Seminole Mall project “will be impossible to complete, in our view, without the guidance of an experienced city manager … I think the city desperately needs him at this point in time.”
City Council members also were glad to see Edmunds push back his retirement.
“I’m thankful that he’s decided to stay with us a little bit longer,” said Councilor Jim Quinn.
Councilor Chris Burke added, “Any extra single day we can get with [Edmunds] as our city manager I’m very pleased.”