Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris accepted the City Council/City Manager Award from her enthusiastic colleagues last week. Credit: City of Oldsmar.
According to officials, it’s extremely rare for a sitting member of Oldsmar’s City Council to receive the city’s Council/Manager Award of Recognition, which is typically given to employees or residents who commit their time and effort for the betterment of the community.
In fact, prior to last week, it was generally believed it had never been done before.
But thanks to her unflagging dedication to getting the city’s first public art project approved after years of trying, Linda Norris was given the prestigious award by her peers during the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.
When presenting the honor to her colleague, Vice-Mayor Gabby McGee praised Norris for the amount of time she has dedicated to the cause of bringing public art to Oldsmar.
An emotional Linda Norris accepts the Council/Manager Award from Vice-Mayor Gabby McGee last week. Credit: City of Oldsmar.
“This particular council member did something very unique for the city, and they put a lot of time and effort on their weekends and in their free time to help successfully see through a project that the city has been working on for several years. Many, many years and several councils,” McGee said.
“She continued to pursue this project and believed in it and because of that…we were able to approve our public art project, and I think we’re all really excited about it.”
“So it is my honor to give the Council/Manager Award to my fellow council member, Linda Norris.”
Having no prior knowledge of the decision to give her the award, a visibly moved Norris tried to put into words how much the recognition meant to her.
“I can’t. I’m shaking,” Norris, whose term limit expires following the municipal election next month, said as McGee tried to hand her the award.
“I’m just so honored because it was a labor of love and it’s something that’s going to be in Oldsmar, hopefully, for many decades,” she added before stating, “I’m literally shaking right now. Thank you all so much.”
Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris hugs artist Lakeema Matthew after her public art project was approved in January.
Although it was later discovered that Norris might not be the first sitting council member to win the award, a few days after the meeting, she was still emotional, and surprised, about the honor.
“I was blown away,” Norris told Oldsmar Connect.
“City council members and city managers don’t normally win this award. To give it away to one of their own, it’s a huge honor.”
Norris went on to say the recognition was even more special in light of the fact that she is about to term-out.
“It has taken all six years I’ve been on the council to make this happen, and I’m happy, proud and sad right now,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s done.”
Norris also said that after leaving office, she plans to continue to work to bring public art to Oldsmar, as well as other communities in the area, and she did not rule out a return to the City Council.
“I plan to run for mayor, so who knows, in a few years I could be sitting in Doug’s (Bevis’) seat,” she laughed. “But no matter what happens, I won’t stop pushing for public art in Pinellas County.”