Few changes in St. Petersburg's new Bill Foster administration
ST. PETERSBURG —— Mayor-elect Bill Foster will retain the majority of City Hall’s top administrators and managers when he takes office in two weeks.
Foster, whose campaign platform extolled stability and efficiency, will keep all of the city’s three deputy mayors, albeit under new titles. As a candidate, he said some residents confused the deputy mayor titles as elected positions and vowed to reshape the city’s organizational chart.
There were no dismissals announced in a wide sweeping memorandum released Friday afternoon.
Among the handful of changes being phrased in when he takes office January 4:
• Deputy Mayor Tish Elston’s new title is city administrator. She will oversee the budget, finance and school resources departments.
• Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis will now be the city’s community enrichment senior administrator. Davis, who was often hounded by complaints this his title as deputy mayor of the city’s black neighborhoods didn’t accurately reflect his duties, will continue to oversee the city’s business assistance center and development in the city's diverse Midtown and Childs Park areas. He will also supervise codes assistance, community initiatives, housing and community development and special projects. Many of these duties were previously under the umbrella of Deputy Mayor David Metz.
• Metz will become the city’s internal services administrator. He will monitor the city’s bill & collections, City Clerk, human resources, government services, information & communication services and purchasing departments. This post is currently held by Mike Connors.
• Connors’ new title is public works administrator. He will oversee the engineering & capital improvements, fleet management, sanitation, stormwater, pavement & traffic operations and water resources departments. Many of these duties are currently part of his job responsibilities.
• Most employees will keep their current titles, including: city development senior administrator Rick Mussett, city attorney John Wolfe, Fire Chief James Large, Chief of Police Chuck Harmon, City Clerk Eva Andujar and Lori Matway, who oversees the city’s school resources programs.
Foster also announced the departure of a handful of upper management employees:
• Finance director Jeff Spies will retire in May.
• Parks director Cliff Footlick is retiring. Foster will combine the city’s parks and recreation departments into one department under Sherry McBee, the city’s current recreation director.
• Julie Weston, the city’s director of development services, is also leaving the city next month. On the campaign trail, many candidates said her department has made it difficult for businesses to obtain permits from the city. Foster, however, thanked her for her service in his memorandum. Her responsibilities will now fall to Dave Goodwin, the city’s economic development director, who will soon be named planning and economic development director.
"I believe the current talent in this organization is capable of moving the city forward," Foster wrote in his announcement.
He reiterated his campaign goals: Public safety, customer service, cost effective service and education.
He also urged city employees to, "pay attention to detail."
"I will need each of you performing at the top of your game to give this community the quality of service it deserves," he said.