The first thing you notice about Tom Maroney is his military bearing. It’s no surprise, given his four years in the U.S. Air Force followed by 30 years in law enforcement in Arizona.
The second thing you notice is his sense of humor — a gift that serves him well in situations such as the one he recently found himself in on the Key. After a natural gas pipeline ruptured with a loud explosion right next to him, he was able to shrug it off — and even joke about it.
The Roselle, N.J., native spends more time on the Key now, because he is where the buck stops whenever a Village maintenance issue arises — at least until a new Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. ordinance and vendor contract are in effect.
After Chris Brown, owner of The Hub Baja Grill, The Beach Club and The Cottage, filed a lawsuit against the county in January 2011, partly over the handling of maintenance expenses, the County Commission asked Public Works Executive Director James Harriott Jr. “to make sure that the work in Siesta Village is getting done,” Maroney said.
Gary Spraggins, an employee in the county’s Mobility Infrastructure Division, is in the Village almost every day checking on things, Maroney said.
“He’s doing a good job; he keeps me informed,” Maroney said. “And he keeps the (County Commission) informed.”
Still, Maroney is on-site for big jobs, such as the installation of a new fence at the intersection of Treasure Boat Way and Ocean Boulevard. That was the project involving the gas-line rupture.
“There’s definitely some conflicting interests on Siesta,” Maroney said. “We hope we can get everybody satisfied.”
Maroney has been the county’s general manager of business operations since 2005. The county hired him in 2003, after he and his wife moved to Florida to be closer to their older son and his family.
He and his wife had been making regular trips to the Sunshine State, Maroney said.
“Flying back and forth (from Arizona) became a challenge, so my wife said, ‘You need to find a job in Florida.’ And, voila, here I am.”
His first position with Sarasota County was in the Administrative Services Office, where he worked with drainage operations and contracts, including those for commodities and mowing.
Maroney’s current responsibilities include overseeing the installation of a new Advanced Traffic Management System, handling traffic-signal timing at about 140 intersections, and analyzing all the bridges to schedule needed repairs. He also handles his department’s budget and even sits in on Tree Advisory Council meetings.
“Every day, there’s challenges,” he said. “And I guess the most challenging part of the job is to … try our best to deliver the quality services that the taxpayers expect with reduced revenues, reduced staffing. … There’s that sense that we’ve found more creative ways to try to do our job with (fewer people).”
His biggest challenges in law enforcement were child kidnapping and drowning cases, he said. However, in law enforcement, he pointed out, a person “can react and take definitive, end-result acts. Here in this role, you have to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation and see what kind of resolution you can achieve.”
AT A GLANCE
Hometown: Roselle, N.J.
Family: Married with three children and six grandchildren
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business and information systems from the University of Phoenix
Occupation: General manager of business operations in the Sarasota County Public Works Department