Bruce Haddock retired as Oldsmar’s City Manager following after 31 years on Sept. 19, 2017.
It was a whirlwind final few weeks for retiring Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock.
In addition to helping guide the city he’s been working for since 1986 through the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Haddock was honored by neighboring officials, state agencies and local lawmakers, culminating with an emotional farewell at his final City Council meeting on Sept. 19 and a private ceremony at Nielsen on Sept. 29.
Haddock, who officially left City Hall on Oct. 1, will work from home on special projects until his contract expires on Jan. 31, and he makes no bones about being ready to enjoy his retirement following a 40-plus year career in local government.
Oldsmar Connect asked Haddock, 66, to answer some questions about the past, present and future of the city he and his wife, Retha, have called home for more than 30 years before hanging up his suit for good.
Below are Bruce’s candid responses, which reveal his love for the City, the accomplishments he’s most proud of, and what he intends to do with his free time.
(Note: this transcript has been reprinted verbatim from an emailed response.)
Bruce and Retha Haddock (seated) are flanked by their sons, Tyler (l) and Clay (r), along with Oldsmar City Council members (l-r) Eric Seidel, Jerry Beverland, Mayor Doug Bevis, Council member Gabby McGee and Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki during Haddock’s retirement ceremony on Sept. 29, 2017.
Following the emotional farewell ceremonies before and after your final City Council meeting, when did it finally sink in that your long career was coming to an end?
It has been sinking in as the time got closer. The reception, the presentations and the final Council meeting were all very meaningful and important to Retha and me. We are very appreciative.
You have enjoyed a long and storied career. What achievements are you are most proud of from your four-plus-decades in local government?
At the top of the list would be helping to build the sense of community which makes Oldsmar a special place. Like all successful achievements, it requires partners and teamwork. I think it is reflected in the residents, businesses, City Council and employees. We work together to help each other. This sense of community makes it easier to build the things you can see and touch, such as new housing, a new store or a new park amenity such as disc golf.
A screenshot of Bruce Haddock during his early years as Oldsmar’s City Manager. (Credit: City of Oldsmar)
Oldsmar has changed quite a bit since you came to the city in 1986. What are some of the most significant changes that have taken place during your tenure?
The City has grown significantly in the last three decades. The population has doubled. The rate of commercial and industrial growth has far exceeded that. Oldsmar is now an employment center, with many high-wage jobs. As our largest employer, the Nielsen Company has played a major role in that.
Fortunately, we have also been able to concurrently develop the infrastructure to keep up with the growth.
(L-R) Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock, Leisure Services Director Lynn Rives and Mayor Doug Bevis pose with their custom USA BMX jerseys at the Gator Nationals in February 2016.
There is much growth and development taking place in the City currently, from residential developments to park improvements to the planned development of the downtown district. Where do you see the City heading in the next 5-10 years, and how do you feel your successor, Al Braithwaite, will handle the transition?
I think the next 5-10 years will continue to see both residential and commercial development at a moderate growth rate. This helps the City to manage the growth and helps to ensure things are built with quality. I expect there will be significant construction in the downtown area (CRA).
Oldsmar is very fortunate to have an experienced administrator such as Al Braithwaite as City Manager. Al has spent his career working for four cities in Pinellas County, the last 18 years in Oldsmar. He has an extensive professional network and an excellent working relationship with both the Council and employees. It will be a very smooth transition.
Oldsmar officials named Al Braithwaite (center) successor to retiring City Manager Bruce Haddock (left center) during a work session on July 21, 2017.
For the first time in decades, you will be free to do what you want every day, with no suits and ties and meetings to worry about. How do you plan on spending your free time in your retirement, and how long before your wife, Retha, starts wishing you were back at work?!
Bruce Haddock got emotional during his final meeting as Oldsmar City Manager on Sept. 19, 2017.
I am looking forward to the 120-day transition period when I will be working as Special Projects Manager. Not being City Manager will be a relief in many ways but I will still be interacting with employees and others. No suits and ties and fewer meetings are all good things as far as I’m concerned! In fact, I plan to wear shorts or jeans to the few meetings that I will still have on my schedule!
In the near term, I can be upstairs and Retha can be downstairs, so I don’t think she will be wishing I was back at work! We will also be camping and kayaking. In the longer term, we plan to travel extensively, both in the U.S. and internationally.
Any additional thoughts or comments?
Oldsmar has been a great place to live, work and raise a family. It still is. Oldsmar’s best years are ahead. There are many things as City Manager, I will not miss. What I will miss the most, are the people with whom I have enjoyed working!