James Linkogle served the town of Longboat Key for 23 years.
After 23 years of service to the town of Longboat Key, Public Works Department Project Manager James Linkogle is retiring.
However, this is not his first time trying to leave the department. In 2018 he was set to retire based on his benefits package through the town. He was approached by then town manager, Dave Bullock, and asked to stay on longer to aid in carrying out the town’s power line burying project.
“That was a kind of pre-negotiated decision,” he said. “I was officially required to retire because of the preferred retirement option plan.”
To receive his plan benefits, he retired for one business day and was off through Labor Day weekend before returning to the office the following Tuesday. His extension was set to expire in August 2021, but was extended incrementally until now.
On Wednesday, a retirement party was held in honor of his service to the town with a few dozen people attending to wish him well in his retirement.
“I was extremely humbled and honored,” Linkogle said of the turnout. “There were so many friends from day one that showed up and even some of the most recent professional and residential relationships I have made.”
Attendees agreed Linkogle was a “fixture of the town” during his time in the department and rarely said no to assisting in a project.
“James has a very strong work ethic,” Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said. “He is a very dedicated and loyal individual. He is a humble servant and has served the community diligently for the last 23 years.”
Brownman also had a hand in ensuring Linkogle stayed on with the department as he knew his knowledge and help would be invaluable for the town’s power line project.
“James being the person he is and wanting to do good for the town decided to help us out,” he said. “Initially, he agreed on another extension through January 2022, but I asked him to stay longer. He’s given us an extra year beyond what he had ever planned.”
Among the projects he completed during his time in the department, the power line project, beach nourishment projects and the building of the second half of Durante Park were among his favorites.
“It’s just a wonderful place to work,” Linkogle said. “I pinch myself when I cross the bridge coming over to Longboat Key. It really is a paradise; it’s really just a wonderful community.”
Prior to his career in the town, Linkogle worked as an electrician and even started his own electrical contracting business. To him, the underground power line project being one of his last brought his career full circle.
When forming the second half of Durante Park, he vividly remembers the early stages of the project.
“I remember crawling on our bellies under Brazilian pepper trees, mangroves and through mangrove wetlands trying to create exactly where we were going to cut the trails,” he said.
Another standout project was the truck haul beach nourishment project in 2016, which consisted of between 14,000 and 15,000 truck loads of sand being moved and placed on the beaches.
“It was challenging just because of the magnitude of the trucks and getting all the little details ironed out to where it was a seamless project for the citizens,” he said.
Even so, he was unable to identify a favorite project, citing that every one of them no matter the magnitude was fun and worthwhile.
Once retired, Linkogle and his wife Gail plan to travel, spend time with friends and family and become more involved in their church.
“I know we are going to stay busy, but we will at least be able to manage the schedule,” he said. “I’ve always been one of those guys that is just as comfortable at work as anywhere else, so it will be a bit of an adjustment.”
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