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Peers say Guyette will be missed

In three years on the Largo City Commission, Vice Mayor Andy Guyette has shown a head for detail and a desire to build consensus.

Now fellow commissioners say they will miss those qualities when Guyette leaves the commission next week to take a job out of state.

Guyette, who works for Honeywell as technical director for a missile interceptor program, has been offered a position at Millennium Engineering and Integration Co. in Huntsville, Ala., where he will work on another missile defense system.

"I'm going to miss the community and the things we were able to do," said Guyette, 50, who has served on the commission since March 2005. "There's nothing more pleasing than when a citizen comes up and thanks you for what you've done."

Guyette said he decided to move after he took his wife, Linda, on a business trip to Huntsville and she fell in love with the area. The couple has two adult daughters, Cassie and Cara, and three grandchildren.

Guyette served four years in the U.S. Air Force before he began his engineering career at Paradyne Corp. He has worked for Honeywell since 1998.

Before he was elected to the City Commission, he served on the city's public works and finance advisory boards.

City commissioners will appoint his replacement, who will serve until his term ends in November. His term was extended when Largo residents voted in 2006 to change city elections from March to November.

Colleagues praised Guyette's thoughtfulness, technical expertise and dedication.

"He asked great questions. He was serious about his commitment," Mayor Pat Gerard said.

"He had a very analytical point of view," Commissioner Gigi Arntzen said. "He looked at things differently than all of us."

Guyette brought those traits to bear in his approach to three major issues:

• During a seven-hour meeting in 2006, Guyette pressed experts for proof that a proposed 13,000-square-foot crematory at Serenity Gardens Memorial Park would not affect the health and property values of nearby residents. When the answers didn't provide that assurance, Guyette and other commissioners voted down the crematory.

• A little more than a year ago, Guyette was one of five commissioners who voted to remove then-City Manager Steve Stanton during the controversy over Stanton's disclosure that he planned to have sex-change surgery. Guyette said he made the decision because he believed Stanton had manipulated certain city employees, not because Stanton wanted to become a woman.

• More recently, Guyette took, at various times, positions on both sides of the issue in the divisive debate over establishing a memorial to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Largo Central Park. For example, his was a leading voice saying the community opposed the memorial. Then, after the idea appeared to flounder, Guyette said he would support an approach to paying for the project with private donations. Finally, he backed a smaller-scale effort, a sculpture to honor King at the Largo Public Library. He said he did so because he didn't believe there was support for the memorial yet.

Guyette's new job begins April 28. He doesn't plan to get involved in local politics right away, but will likely do so down the road, he said.

"I do enjoy and appreciate the government process," he said. "There's a good chance I probably will get involved again."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or 445-4155.

Peers say Guyette will be missed 04/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 9:08pm]
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