Oldsmar officials initiate city manager succession plan

Longtime Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock is scheduled to retire in January 2018 after 30 years in the position.

Longtime Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock is scheduled to retire in January 2018 after 30 years in the position.

Oldsmar officials held a work session last week to start the process of developing a succession plan for longtime city manager Bruce Haddock, who is set to retire in January 2018.

The workshop, held on Valentine’s Day, was led by Fire Chief Dean O’Nale and City Attorney Tom Trask, who will serve as the point people for the process, and was attended by the entire city council as well as staff members and other officials.

“This is an informal discussion to start this process and to let you know the different things you will need as we go through the steps of this process,” O’Neal said to the group at the start of the session.

Oldsmar officials, including Mayor Doug Bevis (left) and Fire Chief Dean O'Nale (right) talk about the succession plan for City Manager Bruce haddock (center) during an informal work session on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.

Oldsmar officials, including Mayor Doug Bevis (left) and Fire Chief Dean O’Nale (right) talk about the succession plan for City Manager Bruce Haddock (center) during an informal work session on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.

After receiving a packet that roughly outlined the timeframe for the city manager search and hiring process, the council was asked to agree on a transition plan for Haddock.

According to the terms of the arrangement, Haddock, who was hired by the city in 1986 and has been working in local government since 1974, would remain an employee from October 1, 2017 until January 31, 2018, during which time he would continue to be paid his current salary while working from home, assisting with projects assigned by the new city manager.

The agreement could be altered at any time, pending the approval of all parties, and was universally accepted by all those in attendance.

Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock.

Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel said.

“It’s good we’ll have some overlap. It provides continuity and a comfort level for residents and staff. I think it makes a lot of sense.”

“I like it,” Mayor Doug Bevis concurred, with council members Gabby McGee, Dan Saracki and Jerry Beverland also agreeing with the idea.

With that bit of business out of the way, the group discussed the timeline that Trask and O’Nale laid out.

It includes picking the consulting firm in April, opening the application process in May, closing the application process in July, then whittling down the list of potential candidates and interviewing the five finalists in late August.

According to the timeline, the new city manager is scheduled to start work on October 1.

While the general terms of the plan were agreed upon, there was talk about speeding up certain aspects of the timeline.

Oldsmar City Council Member Eric Seidel.

Oldsmar City Council Member Eric Seidel.

“I think we’re not giving ourselves enough time,” Seidel said, noting an out-of-state hire would need time to give notice and undergo a relocation process.

“My suggestion is we shorten the timeframe on the front end so we can speed that process along so we can start interviewing and making offers earlier.”

Bevis and Saracki said they “completely agreed” with that suggestion, and Haddock concurred.

“I think the font end can be moved up two weeks without any problem,” Haddock said.

With that, the group agreed to allow O’Nale and Trask to form a committee to select the consulting firm, and the pair will present their selection at the next City Council meeting.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

After the session, the parties involved spoke about the process.

“I thought the meeting was productive, and it went exactly as I expected,” said O’Nale, who admitted he’s never been involved in a process like this before.

“The biggest thing is nothing is set in stone. They (the council members) are driving the process, and Tom and I are here to consult.”

“I think the important part was to get a consensus on the agreement with Bruce regarding his transition and to hammer out the timeline and agree on it,” Bevis said.

“We can only do so much, because it needs to coincide with council meetings. But I think there is a little wiggle room. We don’t want (the selection process) to take too long.”

Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock was honored for his 30 years of service in May 2016.

Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock was honored for his 30 years of service in May 2016.

Haddock, who typically runs these meetings but remained largely silent in this one, admitted it was a surreal position to be in.

“It was definitely a struggle to sit and be quiet,” he said. “I tried my best, but it didn’t always work out.”

“But I think it was a productive meeting, and it’s definitely more of a reality now,” he added.

“It was down the road for a period of time, but now ‘down the road’ is a lot closer.”

Haddock also said his main priority is facilitating the transition from his leadership to that of the new City Manager.

“My objective is to make the transition as smooth as possible,” he said, adding, “hopefully the applicant won’t look at it as a negative.”

“I’m just going to fade into the background. We won’t have two City Managers at one time. The day we hire a new City Manager, we will have one City Manager.”

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  1. John 8 months ago

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