SEMINOLE — The political, business and civic leaders who crowded the City Council chambers Tuesday night wanted one thing: for City Manager Frank Edmunds to stick around rather than retire in January.
They got what they wanted ... to a point.
Edmunds agreed to stay an extra eight months, until August 2015. In return, council members agreed by a 6-0 vote, to give him an extra week's vacation for every month he stays and to begin searching for his successor in April.
"We'll honor whatever he wants,'' Council member Jim Quinn said. "We'll give him the keys to the city."
Edmunds' decision got a standing ovation from the council and the crowd.
Edmunds, 63, who has held the job for almost 20 years, is Seminole's first and only city manager. For most of that time, he has been highly praised by his councils, getting top grades in performance reviews. Council member Patricia Plantamura, who has been critical of Edmunds, was not at the meeting.
One of the 14 speakers said the evening's pleas were a coordinated effort by the city's business, civic and political community. Those included County Commissioner Janet Long, a former state legislator and Seminole council member; Ken Burke, Pinellas clerk of court; Jim Olliver, provost of the St. Petersburg College Seminole campus; Roger Edelman, president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce and City Council candidate; and lawyer Dennis DeLoach.
Speakers praised Edmunds' leadership and said they wanted him to stay long enough to oversee the city's handling of the proposed renovation of Seminole Mall. A developer has proposed demolishing the indoor mall and replacing it with a more modern outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment mecca. The developer has asked, among other things, that the city provide some financial incentives in exchange for the redevelopment.
"You stay until the major projects are behind us," DeLoach said.
Edmunds said afterward that he knew there was going to be "some sort of effort" to persuade him to stay, but he had not anticipated the level of support and where it came from.
"It's the ultimate compliment to any city manager," Edmunds said. "I was caught off guard."
Contact Anne Lindberg at email@example.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes.