1. Gators

Clearwater City Manager is sticking around

CLEARWATER—City Manager Bill Horne said Wednesday that he has no plans to retire this year and hopes to squelch a rumor to that effect spreading through the city.

Horne, the chief administrator of Tampa Bay's third-largest city since 2000, said several people had approached him in recent days to ask him if he intended to retire at the end of this year.

"Now is not the time to think about leaving," Horne said. "I wouldn't think of doing anything destabilizing."

Major initiatives all require his attention, Horne said. Those include negotiating a 60-year lease with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on city-owned land where City Hall now stands for a downtown aquarium, securing land for a downtown parking garage and picking a location for a new City Hall.
"I would want to see those things through," he said.

A recent conversation with a "community leader" may have been the origin of the misunderstanding, Horne said.

A retired Air Force colonel who will turn 65 in June, Horne said he will reevaluate his options in 2016.

Horne said he doesn't ever want to overstay his welcome and become perceived as "too long in the tooth" for the demanding job.

"I don't think I'm a Zev Buffman," Horne said, referring to the energetic 84-year-old CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall who recently signed an extension through 2016.