City Manager Jennifer Bramley, 54, started working for the city of Dunedin in September 2017. She formerly was the assistant city manager for the city of Coral Springs. Her husband, David, is director of operations/talent for CX Insurance Services in St. Petersburg. The Bramleys’ son, Steven, lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Haley, and 15-month-old daughter, Ellie.
Bramley oversees about 370 employees.
Having lived in Dunedin for about two years, what comes as a surprise to you about the city?
“I think the level of activity. Everybody views it as a sleepy coastal town. It’s a very active community. Residents are very active and involved in government. Business owners are very active and involved in government. As you know, during the winter months, every single weekend there is some sort of parade or a party. So I think just the level of activity in this city is really surprising. From my previous cities — a hundredfold. Which I think is wonderful. I enjoy it.”
What are your top priorities now as a city manager?
“We have undertaken a very ambitious plan of capital improvements at the stadium, the player development complex on Solon Avenue, the new city hall, emergency operations center. My priority right now is completing those projects. They are all going to be completed in the next year, year-and-a-half. We need to complete them. We need to bring them in on time, especially the stadium. We have opening day Feb. 24, 2020. That’s really my priority right now, and while we are doing that, to maintain our core services and level of service.”
What, so far, has given you your most satisfaction in your tenure here?
“I think being able to align our organization behind our epic goals. As I said before, we are really a very involved citizen government. And I feel when I got here, we were doing a number of wonderful things, but they weren’t all aligned, and we weren’t all pulling in the same direction. We’ve established our five epic goals, and epic meaning impressive, not large or grand. And we’ve aligned everything we do behind those epic goals. I’ve deployed them to all our employees, deployed the epic goals to all the boards and committees. If you see on the cover pages of our agenda items, everything has to align with an epic goal. So I want to make sure that everybody understands — from the commission all the way down to our front-line employees and our partners in the private sector, our business owners, our merchant association, our chamber of commerce. Make sure we are all pulling in the same direction.”
What’s the biggest challenge facing Dunedin officials and leaders?
“Our biggest challenge is ensuring that we continue our level of service for everything we do, given our resources.”
Ten years from now, what do you think will be the biggest change residents and visitors will notice about Dunedin?
“If you look at our epic goals, we want to be the premier coastal community, and we want to lead the state in environmental stewardship. Our goal by 2035 is to have all our public buildings use 100 percent renewable energy. I think you are going to see our sustainability initiative has taken vast strides. You are going to see us address some of the issues in our citizens survey, which was access to the water and those type of things. You are going to see us maintain our open space. Open space in Dunedin is very important. We want to maintain or even increase if we can, the amount of open space we have. So I think in 10 years you are going to see us embrace sustainability and embrace all the things we need to ensure our future.”
Do you think that with the continued pressure for development and the impact of tourism, parking will be a challenge, though now people can park in the city for free?
“A friend of mine who was in the development community once told me that the best problem to have is a parking problem. Because it means you are vibrant, that your businesses are attracting patrons. The supply of parking is always a worry. I want to make sure that, first and foremost, our residents, the patrons of our business and our visitors, have a good experience when they come to Dunedin. And that means supplying the parking and not necessary throughout the neighborhoods as well because there is an impact on neighborhoods. The parking supply versus our resources is always a friction point. We have worked really hard over the summer to secure some off-site parking. We have been working with some partners. We have been working with Achieva. We have been working the hospital (Mease) to provide additional parking for those larger-scale events. We would need a trolley back and forth and that type of thing.
I think we, as staff, need to continue to provide additional parking options and not just let people come and park wherever. It’s something we are going to continue to pursue and look at. We looked at Curtis Fundamental. We met with them. That’s an additional 300 spaces. That’s convenient to downtown and we would trolley back and forth. We are always looking at different options for our parking supply.”
What well-known leader, living or deceased, do you admire the most?
“The one that keeps coming to mind is Winston Churchill. Because I think that he made difficult decisions, obviously, as everybody did during World War II. But I think he made almost impossible decisions and did them courageously, and sometimes you have to take a step out and do things in the public interest, even though it may not be the most popular decision.”
What’s your favorite hobby?
“I have lots. I enjoy golf, although I haven’t played enough. I like to work out; I jog on the trail a lot. I bike on the trail a lot. I always try to take a different route and see different parts of the city and bike out to the causeway and back again and really have that experience. We recently joined a church. Becoming more active in the church, which is something my husband and I do together. I really would say, just really enjoying the outdoors, as much as I can.”
Do you plan to retire here?
“I do. It would be a privilege for me to be able to retire from the city of Dunedin. It’s my intent to do so.”
Anything you would like to add?
“I want to talk a little about the code enforcement issue. (The city garnered national attention pursuing a foreclosure case against a property owner who accrued almost $30,000 in unpaid code enforcement fines.) It was very troubling because I feel the city was painted in a very unfavorable light. But we drew national attention in a way that didn’t reflect upon the city at all. It’s an amazing, wonderful city to live in and to work for, and none of that was conveyed — obviously in the national media. We’re just not that city. We are addressing it and we will make some changes and those are yet to be determined. I just want to convey that this is a wonderful, friendly enthusiastic city. People need to understand that.”