It has been a wonderful 15 ½ years as your city manager and, as such, I would like to take this time to offer some final thoughts.

First and foremost, we have tried to instill in our organizational philosophy and governing style a blend of genuine personal humility and fierce resolve with intense professional will. We have tried to produce the best long-term results with calm determination, modesty and ethical standards that will hopefully lay the groundwork and guide our organization to be even more successful in future years to come.

Most important is the customer service culture employed by our employees through our delivery of services. When you call a city department, you get a live person. When you need to have your smoke detector battery replaced, a fire crew will come to your home and perform the work. Every week, a police volunteer calls customers who have been in contact with a police officer to gauge the officer’s professionalism and whether the person was satisfied with the service provided.

If you have an idea for a future development, you can come in and meet with staff from various departments in a design studio format to evaluate the opportunity and identify obstacles, if any, to overcome. If you need a building inspection, the service will be handled with a one-day or less turnaround. If trash or horticulture is left at the curb, our sanitation workers will ensure nothing remains on their route. If you want your cul-de-sac beautified, city staff will work with the property owners to evaluate the landscaping plan and get you started with irrigation for the owners to take over maintenance thereafter. And the list goes on and on. It is this can do attitude that permeates throughout the city workforce.

It is that human touch and personal service provided by our employees and volunteers that make Punta Gorda such a desirable place to live. I move to the next phase of my life confident that this city will maintain a culture of community engagement, teamwork, partnerships, transparency, respect customer service and stewardship. That the pride in Punta Gorda’s history and well-preserved historical areas and natural resources will continue. With confidence that local businesses will be supported and promoted. Knowing that the City of Punta Gorda government will continue to be open, fair, transparent, equitable, ethical and accountable to our residents. That what we do as public employees is essential to the functioning of our community. That our citizens will be treated with respect and civility, enabling city staff to answer any question and respond to any challenge that may come its way.

If one was to judge the progress we have made over the years, it would be whether we are leaving the community a little better than one found it. I’m pretty confident that I have lived a rich life in Punta Gorda. And confident you will give new City Manager Greg Murray the support you gave me in making the power of partnerships a reality.

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