LARGO — Commission chambers were filled with positive vibes June 18 as the city of Largo welcomed new employees, honored current ones and bid farewell to a staple of City Hall.
Among those honored was Shirley Frick, office administrator to the mayor and City Commission, who will be retiring June 28 after a 30-year career with the city.
Mayor Woody Brown read a proclamation recognizing Frick’s tenure with the city, which has included serving six mayors and 29 city commissioners.
“Shirley has given her time, energy, heart and soul to the city of Largo,” Brown said, as he read the proclamation.
“Shirley has been a constant source of information and support to city staff, Largo residents and other agencies.”
Besides organizing meetings and events, juggling the schedules of commissioners and tracking and responding to citizen requests for information, Frick also has spearheaded special events and projects, such as the Mayor’s Golf Tournament, Sister Cities Celebration, Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and more.
"I feel fortunate to have been an employee of the City of Largo for the past 30 years," Frick wrote in an email to Tampa Bay Newspapers. "I look forward to retirement and this new chapter of my life but will take with me fond memories of the many people I've worked for and with, and the friends I have made."
New first responders
On the opposite end of the spectrum, several first responders who are just starting their career with the city were recognized and sworn in.
Largo Fire Rescue added five new members to its ranks, including Hillary Sanford, the department’s new assistant chief of fire prevention.
Chief Chad Pittman said Sanford is a 14-year veteran of fire service, working the past 2 1/2 years as a training lieutenant at Osceola County Fire Rescue. Prior to that, she worked in Brooksville as a firefighter, driver engineer and captain and also served as the fire and life safety educator.
Others who were sworn in included firefighter/paramedic Leonardo Rubin, firefighter/EMT Brittany Bliss, firefighter/EMT Andrew Ploski and firefighter/EMT Jason Mulhall.
Largo Police also added three new members to its department, including Kipper Connell, who
began his law enforcement career in 1983, joined LPD in 2017 as a civilian supervisor and will now work as a school resource officer.
Jasmine Kynion and Giulia Neely also were sworn in as officers.
Kudos for current employees
Justin Meetoo of the city’s Human Resources department announced the city’s employees and manager of the quarter.
Police officer Steve Calderone and firefighter/paramedic William Murphy were among the group of five, which also included Linda Smith, an office administrator; planner Katrina Lunan Gordon; and Lara Khoury, a recreation business manager.
Calderone was honored for his efforts and compassion in helping an elderly couple following a car accident. Murphy earned his award for creating a mental health program for the city’s firefighters.
In other news
• City commissioners voted 6-0 on second and final reading to move ahead with a tax incentive program for a Largo aerospace manufacturer looking to expand its facility.
The aviation/aerospace manufacturer, which has requested confidentiality allowed by state statutes, has been in the Largo market for 24 years and is seeking to consolidate its out-of-state production facility to Pinellas County.
As part of the Qualified Target Industry tax refund program, Largo and Pinellas County would each contribute $23,500 toward the total $235,000 incentive offered, with the state paying the remainder.
The firm says its two-year, $7.3 million project would include the construction of a 40,000-square-foot facility, equipment upgrades, and bring an estimated 47 full-time jobs to the area over a three-year span.
• Kiwanis Club of Mid-Pinellas President Bruce Blazej presented the city a check for $1,650, which was raised during the group’s annual Pawfest event held each year in April at Central Park.
Blazej said the money will help fund several of the city’s youth programs.