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Tampa hires former Polk County manager as top utilities official

TAMPA — Former Polk County manager Robert Michael Herr is Tampa's new administrator of public works and utility services.

Herr, Polk's top county administrator for seven years, replaces Steve Daignault, who retired in February.

He will report to Mayor Bob Buckhorn and oversee water, solid waste, wastewater, public works and contract administration.

A start date hasn't been set, but officials said Herr will serve in an interim capacity until he moves into the city. After he does, the City Council will consider his nomination for confirmation. His starting salary will be $153,000 a year.

In announcing the appointment, Buckhorn praised Herr's experience and "wealth of regional knowledge about public works and utility services."

"For many residents, their only interaction with City Hall is paying a utility bill or having trash picked up," Buckhorn said in a written statement. "Mike has a laser-like focus on streamlining processes to make services more efficient and accessible for residents."

In Polk County, he oversaw a $1.2 billion budget and more than 2,000 employees. His accomplishments included implementing one-stop permitting and streamlining the county's development review process.

A graduate of Indiana State University, Herr was Polk County's director of transportation and Lakeland's director of public works before becoming the county manager.

The Lakeland Ledger reported that Herr resigned from the county manager's job in July 2010 to take a job as president of ECON, a civil engineering firm based in Lakeland.

This month, Herr was named one of five finalists for the job of Hernando County administrator, where he was deputy administrator from 1987 to 1992.

Herr told Hernando officials he left his Polk County manager's job to test his abilities in the private sector. But he realized early on that he wanted to be back in government management. He also was facing a layoff in June for economic reasons.

Richard Danielson can be reached at danielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403.

Tampa hires former Polk County manager as top utilities official 03/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 10:22pm]
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