TAMPA — Police Chief Brian Dugan’s and his new boss Jane Castor go way back, and she’s inclined to keep him on as the city’s top cop.
Mayor-elect Jane Castor, a former police chief who supervised Dugan as he rose through the ranks at the department, told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that she’d like Dugan to remain as Tampa’s police chief beyond October, when he must retire as a participant in the state’s deferred retirement program.
"I know Brian Dugan very well and I would be more than happy to keep him on contract as chief of police," she said. "I think he's doing a great job."
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Castor and Dugan said they have had some cursory conversations about him staying, but now that’s she elected, they can talk in more detail and try to come to an agreement.
"I have intimate knowledge of what her expectations will be, but I'll have to sit down with her to determine what direction she'd like to take TPD," Dugan said Wednesday.
Asked how long he'd like to stay in the job, Dugan said he didn't have a specific timeline in mind.
"I'll stay for as long as I'm wanted and as long as I'm effective," he said.
Castor, who served as chief from 2009 to 2015, created two assistant chief positions during her tenure for Dugan and for Eric Ward. Mayor Bob Buckhorn tapped Ward as chief when Castor retired.
When Ward left for a private sector job in 2017, Buckhorn started a national search for a replacement, then scuttled the process and chose Dugan.
Buckhorn cited Dugan’s performance as interim chief during Hurricane Irma and the Seminole Heights murders.
Dugan, 52, is enrolled in the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP. While in the program, participants’ retirement benefits accumulate in the state trust fund, earning interest while the employee continues to work. At the end of the deferment period, the funds are paid as a lump sum. Dugan must retire in October, when he hits the 29-year mark with the department.
To keep working as chief after that, Dugan will have to be hired on a contract basis, just as Castor did for about year when Buckhorn asked her to stay past her retirement date.
She collected both her pension and the contract salary as chief, something her mayoral opponent David Straz criticized during the campaign.