TAMPA — After advertising nationwide and getting 129 applications, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday he will promote from within, naming Mark Wilfalk as director of solid waste and environmental program management.
Buckhorn described Wilfalk, 43, as a team player who would be able to improve customer service, live within the department's means and handle changes ranging from running more garbage trucks on compressed natural gas to introducing more automation to expanding recycling.
"I think he's going to do fine," said Mike Suarez, who chairs the City Council's public works committee. "He's learned a lot of the finer points of the kind of service delivery we expect and the kind of service delivery we need."
Tampa's solid waste department serves more than 81,000 accounts, has an annual budget of nearly $100.8 million and 215 authorized positions.
Wilfalk came to the city from Kimmins Recycling in 1998 as a solid waste supervisor. He has been promoted five times since, most recently serving as chief of operations. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and is working on an MBA at Saint Leo University.
Wilfalk's annual salary as director will be $120,000. He lives in the city's Grant Park neighborhood in east Tampa — the city charter requires department directors to live inside the city — and will serve as interim director until the City Council votes on his appointment.
Wilfalk replaces Tonja Brickhouse, who resigned in August. Brickhouse, a retired Air Force colonel hired in 2008, told city officials that she planned to pursue doctoral studies in economics and psychology.
Richard Danielson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.