Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds: Why I'm retiring

SEMINOLE — Frank Edmunds' announcement last week that he is retiring after almost 20 years as Seminole's city manager caught most people off guard.

As sudden as the decision seemed, Edmunds said it was the result of long thought and not prompted by turmoil in the city.

Edmunds said Monday that he has spent 45 years in local government in a variety of positions, both elected and appointed. Over time, he said, those experiences, even the good ones, can wear on a person. Edmunds, 63, said he tends "to internalize" things more than most and has found that as he gets older, his patience is wearing thin.

City managers, he said, "are constantly faced with challenges, issues."

"That does take its toll over the long term," said Edmunds, who is Seminole's first and only manager. "I think, for me, it's time."

City projects factored highly into his decision, he said. Some of them, like the new community center at the site of the old City Hall, will be complete, or almost so, when he leaves Jan. 16. Others, like the waterfront park on Park Boulevard opposite Lake Seminole, will be planned out so the council and his successor will have to just follow the steps. Others, like the development of the former Bay Pines Mobile Home Park, opposite the VA hospital, will be far enough along that ushering them to a conclusion will be straightforward.

Then there's Seminole Mall — probably the biggest potential project for the city and an important one for Pinellas County.

Edmunds predicted that redevelopment of the mall would not begin until January at the earliest and would take about three years. That would put the final stages in 2018. Edmunds said he simply wasn't prepared to remain until 2018 and he did not want to drop that in someone else's lap midstream.

"The redevelopment of that property will take a significant amount of city effort to see that the end product is something the city will be proud of," Edmunds said. "By transitioning now, whoever comes after me will be in a better position (to oversee the development)."

Edmunds may not have decided to retire because of uproar in the city, but he conceded that the strife influenced the timing of his decision. He had planned to meet one on one with council members this week to tell them of his decision to retire. Before he could meet with them, allegations by City Clerk Rose Benoit and council member Patricia Plantamura that a department head had threatened the council member's life surfaced. Plantamura also alleged that Mayor Leslie Waters and council member Bob Matthews had orally confronted her. She has asked for a deputy to stand by at council meetings for her protection. Plantamura, who has long criticized Edmunds, said she blamed his management style for creating a hostile work environment.

The department head, Mark Ely, denied making a threat, and a sheriff's investigation was closed and marked "solved, non-criminal." Edmunds branded the accusations "ridiculous."

But other council members were angered by the allegations. Matthews in particular, who served on the council that hired Edmunds, jumped to his defense. It appeared that there would be a confrontation between council members at last week's meeting. But Edmunds' announcement — a surprise to all except Waters and Matthews, who were told shortly before the meeting began — diverted attention and torpedoed any argument.

"I think I had just reached a point that I felt, for my own sanity, that I'd rather announce it at a meeting (rather than a one-on-one) basis," Edmunds said.

Despite the recent strife, Edmunds said he has been happy.

"To me, it's been an absolutely terrific career," he said. In fact, he's likely not hanging up his city manager hat. Edmunds said he'll try out retirement and if it's not all it's cracked up to be, or he gets bored, he'll likely consult on special projects for cities.

"If it's not the right time … maybe I'll look for something else," he said. "I'm going to keep my options open from here."

Until then, he said, he plans to improve his golf game. He also plans to use the experience he has gained reorganizing city governments.

"I get to reorganize my garage," he said.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes on Twitter.

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds: Why I'm retiring 06/20/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2014 11:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tie vote blocks grant money for husband of Dade City mayor

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Taking another shot at obtaining a Community Redevelopment Agency grant to improve his downtown building, the husband of Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was denied this week by a deadlocked board.

    Mayor Camille Hernandez recused herself but was asked to stay in the room.
  2. Deputies responding to car crash in Riverview find shooting victim inside


    RIVERVIEW — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after deputies responding to a single-car crash late Wednesday discovered someone in the car had been shot, authorities said.

  3. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us


    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: School grades, teacher pay, transgender lawsuit and more


    SCHOOL GRADES: Florida's school grades showed improvement as the state's revised accountability system entered its third year in its current form. …

    Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates her school's A grade with students in a summer program at the school.
  5. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland



    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.