SEMINOLE — In an emotional statement that caught council members by surprise, Frank Edmunds on Tuesday announced his retirement.
Edmunds' last day will be Jan. 16, giving him almost 20 years on the job. Edmunds, 63, became Seminole's first city manager in 1995 after the city changed its government from a strong mayor to a council-manager format.
He is earning $128,832 a year.
"I leave Seminole city government in a good place," Edmunds said at the end of Tuesday's council meeting. "With policy guidance from the City Council, Seminole city government is financially sound, professional and enjoys the benefit of dedicated employees, and has a bright future.
"I look forward to a time when I can spend time with my family, including a soon-to-arrive grandson, without the daily stresses and challenges that are synonymous with local government management."
Edmunds had to pause during his statement to dab at tears.
"I think everyone is caught off guard," Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters said. "You've given it a terrific run. Everywhere I look, it's Frank Edmunds' suggestions (that have made Seminole what it is). You have served this city in an outstanding manner."
For the most part, Edmunds has been well respected by successive councils. In recent years, most council members have given him almost perfect ratings on job evaluations.
But also in recent years, he's received severe criticism from council member Patricia Plantamura. Earlier this month, she wrote him a six-page memo that accused him of being unprofessional and of fostering an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation for city employees. Edmunds has branded those accusations as "ridiculous."
After his announcement Tuesday, Plantamura said, "I wish you well and enjoy your family."
Council member Bob Matthews, who served on the council that hired Edmunds, referred to the criticism, saying, "I apologize for the people who attacked you."
Anne Lindberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes on Twitter.