The town manager’s office is growing.
Town Manager Dave Bullock has promoted Town Engineer Anne Ross to the newly appointed role of assistant town manager.
In December, Bullock told the Longboat Observer that he had pinpointed Ross as a possible town manager successor. And for months, Ross has been seen at Longboat Key Town Commission meetings taking notes and acting as a special consultant to a variety of topics — everything from cellular communications to pensions.
The promotion became official Tuesday, Jan. 1, when the new assistant town manager job description was formed.
Ross’ annual salary rose from $88,587 to $97,000, and she is on a probationary period through April 30. Ross, 40, has been a town employee for six years.
Essential functions for her new role, according to a new assistant town manager job description, include:
• Assisting the town manager in carrying out the responsibilities of the office as assigned.
• May perform the duties of the town manager in his absence.
• Prepares correspondence, reports, briefings or presentation materials as requested.
• Assists in annual budget preparation.
• May monitor or evaluate the activities of department heads as requested.
• Acts as community liaison between Town Hall administrative staff, community and community organizations as directed.
• Processes confidential matters, including employee information, dealings with the press, development projects and other issues as required.
Ross, who will work 70% of the time in the town manager’s office, will continue working 30% of the time as the town engineer.
Ross told the Longboat Observer she’s excited about her new promotion, but declined an interview Tuesdaybefore press time, because the Longboat Key Town Commission was still being notified about the new position.
Bullock said Friday he made it a goal during his first year to find an assistant town manager, whom he likes to refer to as his future successor.
“Part of every manager’s job is to strengthen and prepare for the time when they are not there,” Bullock said. “As I looked around the organization, I saw we have a lot of highly capable people, but I wasn’t sure any were on track to manage an organization either here or somewhere else.”
Bullock said he considered looking outside his organization until he met with Ross. Bullock said Public Works Director Juan Florensa shared his sentiments about her potential as an assistant town manager.
“Anne fit the bill,” Bullock said. “She’s smart, energetic, has the right set of values and has a certain hunger to learn new things.”
Bullock said any good town manager is always scanning for talent and ways to improve the organization. He said no one else was considered for the role.
“Anne kept coming up in that internal and external scan,” Bullock said. “Part of my responsibility is to help form the next group of managers within the organization and this is part of that process.”
Public Works Director Juan Florensa said he supported Bullock’s decision several months ago when he was made aware of the possibility of Ross’ promotion.
“I told the town manager months ago I have mentored Anne to take over the Public Works Department,” Florensa said. “She could run that department today if I asked her to.”
Although Ross will still be working on some utility projects with Florensa, her responsibilities, and most likely her desk, will eventually shift to Town Hall. Florensa will likely receive approval to search for a new engineer to oversee his seven utility employees.
Florensa said he believes an assistant town manager requires the attributes of tact, diplomacy and an ability to see everyone’s side without jumping to conclusions.
“I believe Anne possesses all of those qualities,” Florensa said. “The Public Works Department is excited and very supportive of her.”
Assistant Town Manager Function
“Under the direction of the town manager, this is a highly responsible position in performing professional work at an administrative level in planning, developing and directing major programs and projects for the town manager. As assigned, collaborates with department heads engaged in a wide range of tasks necessary for the successful operation of the town government.”