The culture at Longboat Key Town Hall is changing.
Town Manager Dave Bullock has a completely different approach to management than his predecessor. There’s not an employee at Town Hall that will disagree with that statement.
Bullock holds meetings not just with his directors, but also with all of his employees on a quarterly basis, at the very least. They gather in Town Hall and he tells them what’s happening and asks them if they have any concerns or questions.
Bullock has also pinpointed Town Engineer Anne Ross as a possible town manager successor. She currently is acting as a special consultant to a variety of topics that he has her studying. Those topics include everything from cellular communications to pensions.
“I’m not going to be here forever,” Bullock said. “If there’s one problem I observed here before I arrived, it was that the town wasn’t prepared or comfortable with someone who could step in as town manager as needed. I’m working to fix that problem.”
Bullock calls his employees “a high-performing team that needs to make sure it is in a continuous learning mode.”
In his second year, he plans to analyze all of his employees closely and make sure they are in the right positions and departments are running efficiently.
Bullock is also working to freeze current police-and-fire pension plans; oversee future redevelopment proposals such as the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort; find a balance of good cellular service with which all residents can agree; and find a residential/commercial/tourism balance that residents agree upon through the work of a future consultant and public hearings.
And he must do all this with the knowledge that he might have to work with a completely revamped Longboat Key Town Commission.
There are three challengers for the March 2013 municipal election.
• Irwin Pastor will challenge incumbent Commissioner Terry Gans for the one-year, at-large seat.
• Gene Jaleski will challenge incumbent Phillip Younger for the two-year, at-large seat.
• Larry Grossman will challenge incumbent Mayor and District 4 Commissioner Jim Brown.
• District 2 Commissioner Jack Duncan, meanwhile, is running unopposed for his seat.
Pastor lives with his wife, Sylvia, in L’Ambiance on the south end of the Key and is the past president of its association. Pastor and Islandside Property Owners Coalition President Bob White were listed as IPOC’s representatives for mediation between the town, Key Club and IPOC in July, according to court records.
Grossman rents a home on St. Judes Drive near the middle of the Key and uses his bicycle as his main form of transportation.
Grossman has ideas for making Longboat Key a better place to live and frequently steps to the podium during the public to-be-heard segment of town meetings.
He retired in the early 2000s, after 30 years in the planning department of Alexandria, Va. Grossman worked in commercial real estate until 2008. He retired that year, and moved with his wife, Patricia Curran, who worked as a planner in the private sector, to Longboat Key.
Longbeach Village resident Gene Jaleski, the challenger for Younger’s two-year at-large seat, is no stranger to Town Hall, either.
After losing to former Commissioner Robert Siekmann in 2008 for an at-large seat, Jaleski unseated incumbent Commissioner Randall Clair in 2009.
Jaleski resigned from the Longboat Key Town Commission May 25, in the wake of an email snafu in which he insulted Longboat Key Public Interest Committee members and called former Mayor Ron Johnson “the most ineffective mayor in recent times.”
Jaleski, a retired computer software engineer, is also known for providing input at meetings. Jaleski is constantly looking at other ways, other than cell towers, to provide better cellular reception.
This time around, he is ready to tackle revitalization for a vacant gas station and Whitney Beach Plaza, help curb the town’s use of consultants and ready to run on a campaign of commission ineffectiveness.