LARGO — During a year riddled with blunt criticism from commissioners and unrest in the city's building department, City Manager Mac Craig has announced he is retiring next spring.
Craig, 79, said Thursday that he plans to leave in March for personal reasons, emphasizing that the decision was not made under pressure from the commission.
"My wife and I have decided that we've got places to go and things to do before we get to where we can't do it anymore, and that's it," he said.
The announcement comes at a time when the city's building division is under fire after a complaint to a state regulatory agency in which an employee claimed that city examiners were okaying building plans without the proper qualifications. Craig denied knowledge of the issues described in the complaint.
His leadership also was described as "stale" this year by City Commissioner Samantha Fenger during the commission's annual evaluation of Craig's job performance, a criticism that was brought up again by commissioners when the building division complaint came to light.
"I appreciate what Mr. Craig has done for city of Largo, but I think it's time for new direction," Commissioner Michael Smith said during an Oct. 6 commission meeting.
Craig has been with the city since 2000. He worked as the environmental services director before becoming assistant city manager in 2004 and city manager in 2007. It is unclear who will replace him when he steps down in March.
Mayor Woody Brown credited Craig with improving morale for city staff. He also said Craig brought neglected departments in the city — such as environmental services and public works — up to speed.
"We're really starting to get a grasp of the ongoing maintenance of our infrastructure," Brown said Thursday. "And that is in no small part thanks to the leadership of Mac."
Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @kathrynvarn.