- February 22, 2023
The town of Oakland has selected a new town manager after narrowing the field down to five then three candidates. Andy Stewart will begin his new role Friday, May 26.
The announcement was made at the town’s May 23 commission meeting.
“This was a culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of people,” Mayor Kathy Stark said. “We’re very excited that he will be joining us. … He’s excited; we’re excited.”
Stewart was the town manager for the town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for six years. Prior to that, he was the assistant city manager for the city of Satellite Beach for three years, town manager for the town of Dundee for four and assistant city manager for the city of Auburndale for six.
The new manager played an important role in writing and receiving grants in excess of $2 million during his tenure in Kitty Hawk. In his biography submitted to Oakland, he called himself persistent. He explained when the town submitted an application for funding from the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources and it was not awarded, he had the town amend the application and resubmit it. The town received the funding the following year.
Stewart has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Central Florida. He is a certified emergency manager.
The town of Oakland hired an executive recruitment firm to manage the process of locating a new town manager after Steve Koontz retired in April. Jack Butler was serving as interim manager following Koontz’s departure but was terminated without cause May 9, and Town Clerk Elise Hui was filling the role until a permanent manager was hired.
Oakland officials hosted the candidates Thursday, May 18, for a tour of the town and an evening reception to allow residents to meet them prior to the final decision being made.
CONSENT AGENDA APPROVED
The commission approved the consent agenda, which included several items.
• Commissioners awarded the construction of sewer improvements at Oakland Avenue Charter School and the Public Safety Complex, which houses the town police and Orange County Fire Rescue stations, to Dale Beasley Construction in the amount of $82,780.01. The two public-owned facilities currently are served by a septic system.
Public works director Mike Parker said the construction of Lift Station No. 6 on Catherine Ross Road will allow the two facilities to connect to sewer. The plan is to have the work completed while the school is closed for the summer.
• The commission approved utilizing a city of Altamonte Springs contract with Cathcart Construction Company to pave certain sections of South Brock Street and East Sadler Avenue. The work includes striping, signage and drainage improvements at a cost of $150,000, to be spent from Oakland’s Transportation Impact Fees fund.
In conjunction with a project on Starr Street, the paving of the Brock and Sadler segments will provide a paved roadway for the school traffic and paved access to Tractor Supply, The Lakeside Church, and Oakland Presbyterian Church.
The work will begin immediately at the end of the school year. The costs associated with the paving portion of this project are about $96,020.00.
• Commissioners also voted to utilize a separate Altamonte Springs contract with Cathcart to complete various paving, drainage and utility infrastructure improvements included in the 2022-23 budget. This work includes paving and drainage improvements of West Sadler Avenue, the reconstruction of a section of South Walker Street, water main and fire hydrant installations, and paved turnouts at various intersections where dirt roads meet paved roads.
IN OTHER NEWS
• The Oakland Town Commission passed an ordinance that establishes an allowance for existing platted lots, or lots of record that are combined, to be split back out to their original platted or original condition. The current town code has no such provision. The ordinance became necessary after property owners requested their double lot be split to its original configuration.
• It was announced that the town is hoping to create a monthly farmers market starting in September. It would be set up along the West Orange Trail in front of the Healthy West Orange Arts & Heritage Center.
• The commission postponed further discussion on the water tower lighting until all commissioners are present. Commissioner Sal Ramos was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
• Mayor Kathy Stark read a proclamation declaring June 2023 Pride Month in the town.