TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn unveiled a City Hall reorganization on Monday aimed at putting a bigger priority on roads and drainage, with plans to boost spending on major projects.
"We will now have one department" — known as Transportation and Stormwater Services — "to manage the city's real estate along our roads and right of way," Buckhorn said. The announcement comes after Buckhorn said he has been looking at realigning public works functions "to make them more efficient."
Buckhorn also named three new department directors, with two of the appointments connected to the reorganization:
• Jean Duncan will be director of the Transportation and Stormwater Services Department.
• Ocea Lattimore will be director of the Assets and Logistics Department, the new name for public works.
• Eric Weiss will be director of the Wastewater Department.
Transportation and stormwater
Duncan, an engineer with bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of South Florida, joined the city in 2003 and most recently has worked as City Hall's transportation manager.
Along with transportation, she will oversee right of way operations, stormwater engineering and stormwater maintenance — all functions that used to be under public works.
The new department will run a call center to give residents and neighborhood organizations a single point of contact for all roadway issues, including potholes, sidewalks, street lights, traffic calming and flooding.
Buckhorn said he told employees of the new department "to focus on improving customer service and being responsive to residents' needs, particularly given the added funding appropriated to resurfacing and stormwater improvements."
Buckhorn's proposed capital improvements budget for 2015 is nearly $139 million, up from $103 million this year and the largest in five years.
Plans for 2015 call for a $2 million upgrade to Cleveland Street, $4 million more for a 50 percent increase in road resurfacing and $5.6 million more for drainage projects that include two regional efforts in East Tampa and South Tampa, as well as three neighborhood-level projects on streets that flood in South Tampa.
The Assets and Logistics Department will oversee fleet maintenance, facilities, parks maintenance and parking.
Lattimore has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida and a master's in public administration from Troy University. She joined the city in 2005 and currently works as wastewater operations manager.
She replaces public works director Irvin Lee, who recently gave two weeks' notice to take a better-paying job as a vice president in the local office of Michael Baker International, an engineering and consulting firm based in Pittsburgh.
A retired Air Force colonel, Lee came to the city in 2006 after working on a wide range of engineering projects, including a $500 million Hurricane Katrina recovery effort at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, during 25 years in the military.
Weiss is currently the Water Department's chief engineer and has served as deputy director of contracts administration. He has worked for the city since 1991 and has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida.
Weiss replaces Anthony Kasper, who recently gave notice to leave for a higher-paying job as water and waste resources manager with Reedy Creek Energy Services, which provides utility services to Disney World.
Duncan and Weiss will report to public works and utilities administrator Mike Herr. Lattimore will report to city chief of staff Dennis Rogero. City officials said salaries for the three have not yet been determined. They will serve in an interim capacity until confirmed by the City Council.
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times