OLDSMAR — Since Felicia Donnelly started her job as leisure services director for the city 10 months ago, she has supervised the Sunshine State BMX Cup, which brought hundreds of spectators into the city. She oversaw the opening of the Oldsmar Disc Golf Course in Sheffield Park. And most recently, she oversaw the renovations of the Oldsmar Sports Complex (formerly Canal Park) and helped welcome Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls, currently training on its soccer fields.
And she is not slowing down now.
On Feb. 1, Donnelly, 48, stepped into a new role — Oldsmar’s assistant city manager. She is the first to hold the position, which calls for a base salary of about $102,000. It was back in 2015 when former city manager Bruce Haddock encouraged the City Council to add the position in order for his office to devote more time to economic development projects.
Council members liked the idea since it was public knowledge that Haddock would retire within 18-months, but they agreed his replacement should have the opportunity to choose the new employee.
Al Braithwaite, who replaced Haddock in October, did just that. In a Jan. 12 email to the council, he announced Donnelly’s appointment, explaining that her selection was based on her "professional credentials.’’ He added: "Felicia possesses a great deal of experience in management and possesses multiple certifications, one of which is actually in planning.’’
Donnelly, who described Oldsmar as "the hub of Tampa Bay and a place with a true community feel inside a fast-paced society," holds a master’s degree in urban planning from University of New Orleans. Before arriving in Oldsmar, she was with the city of Clearwater’s parks and recreation department, where she was responsible for developing park lands, creating programs, procuring grants and supervising personnel. Her background also includes a position in urban planning for St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana.
She admits there are still unknown parts to her new job.
"Since this is a new position, the details of the job are still being refined, but it is about helping the city manager in executing the vision of the City Council,’’ she said. "It’s about an opportunity to create an even greater environment for both people who work here and live here.’’
Mayor Doug Bevis said adding Donnelly will build on the city’s momentum in revitalizing downtown.
"We have been working, for example, on State Street and the property next to city hall," he said, referring to the former Goodrich building that the city tore down last year. "We are ready to fill that.’’
Donnelly’s appointment, he said, "will help Oldsmar go to a new level. She really got up and running as director of leisure services. We have really begun appreciating her skill sets. It seems like a good match.’’
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.