Robert Frank, who has served as Ocoee’s city manager for 20 years, announced his retirement during the Tuesday, Jan. 16, Ocoee City Commission meeting.
And although the city manager’s role is massive — essentially, the position is that of CEO of the city’s operations and employees — it also is one that remains relatively behind the scenes. Even at commission meetings, the city manager’s input is kept to a minimum while elected commissioners debate and consider agenda items.
So, it was befitting of Frank’s role that his retirement announcement was done quietly, at the end of the meeting, and after a commissioner asked him a question about requesting the aid of the city’s attorney in drawing up the requisite paperwork for his eventual successor — who is yet to be named.
“We talked (last year about) your possible coming retirement and entering the drop,” Commissioner Scott Kennedy said to Frank. “Have you made a decision on that?”
To which Frank responded: “Yes, I have entered the drop (Deferred Retirement Option Program).”
This led to a slew of conversations among commissioners about an unnamed successor candidate and what process needed to be followed.
Eventually, Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson decided to say a few words about Frank.
“My older brother was a city manager for 40-something years, and … when I was going to college, he said, ‘Why don’t you get into public administration and be a city manager?’” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Are you crazy? Ain’t no way in hell I’m doing that.’ So, Rob is a guy that came in here 20 years ago, when we were in the middle of some problems, and whether you’ve liked the way he works things or you don’t, he has done an amazing thing in this city over the last 20 years. … And he’s quietly gone about the way of doing it.”
At Johnson’s request, Frank listed out a brief list of his recent accomplishments in the position.
“Within just the last five to 10 years, there’s been some wonderful things that happened around here that we owe to the great staff that you all have here, too,” he said. “The AA rating on the bonds — we have the highest reserves that you’ve ever had, the lowest millage rate that you’ve ever had, the highest O1 rating in the fire department, police and fire are both accredited. It goes on … (but) just to name a few that off the top of my head.”
Regarding Frank’s replacement, Johnson said he knows what he wants to do and wants to have the decision in place by a certain time.
IN OTHER NEWS
- The Ocoee City Commission approved an expansion of the police department’s body-worn camera system.
- The commission approved a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning proposal from low-density residential to commercial on a property on Palm Drive. This decision allows for possible future commercial development on the property.
- The city approved a property variance proposal at 16 Floral St. that allows the addition of an attached garage to a home.