The city of Tampa is restructuring and adding several positions to ensure streamlined services and planning, particularly in transportation and infrastructure.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced a trove of new staff appointments and promotions Wednesday she says will help the city improve communication both internally and within the community and make city departments more efficient.
“Here in Tampa, our community is growing, our economy is thriving, and we’re attracting new opportunities every day. But along with our rapid growth and progress comes many challenges,” Castor said.
“As I have said, transportation is our Achilles heel. We cannot add an estimated 60,000 more cars to our roadways in the next 20 years without transit solutions. And as we are all aware these solutions cannot be implemented overnight – they take years at best. Nor can we ignore our aging and failing infrastructure,” she continued.
Castor appointed Jean Duncan, the city’s current director of transportation and stormwater services, the new administrator of infrastructure and mobility.
“Jean Duncan has been a driving force behind the City’s transportation efforts. She’s been a powerhouse of knowledge and a true leader for the department despite being on a shoestring budget,” Castor said. “We need strong leaders, like her, to help us embrace mobility solutions, build a better-connected city, and welcome the world-class transportation system our city deserves.”
Duncan will oversee transportation improvement and infrastructure planning including roads, bridges, sidewalks, pipes and storm drains, among others.
Vik Bhide, who previously worked on smart mobility solutions, will replace Duncan as the city’s transportation and stormwater services director. Bhide will oversee new positions including roles dedicated to the City Greenways program and Vision Zero plan.
The 2.9 billion dollar water/wastewater pipe replacement initiative PIPES is scheduled to be implemented over the next 20 years, so again relief is not imminent.
Brad Baird will make a lateral move from administrator of the city’s public works and utility services department to infrastructure administrator.
In that role, Baird will oversee the city’s $2.9 billion PIPES program, the city’s largest ever financial commitment to water and wastewater systems.
Castor is promoting Sal Ruggerio from manager of the city’s neighborhood enhancement division to the infrastructure services deputy administrator.
Ocea Wynn, who previously worked as the city’s logistics and asset management director, will be promoted to neighborhood and community affairs administrator.
“Ocea has held many roles in the City from wastewater to logistics and she always runs a tight ship. With this new role, Ocea will help our city create stronger connections with those who live, work, and play in Tampa. She will help us focus on workforce development initiatives through equal business opportunity, community partnerships, and neighborhood engagement programs,” Castor said.
Dennis Rogero, Castor’s current chief of staff, will now serve as the city’s chief financial officer.
“Dennis has been instrumental in supporting our City through responsible financial planning, and enabling us to shine. As stated earlier, Tampa is one of the top 10 cities in the country for city financial management. This recognition isn’t achieved by accident. Dennis’ has an unwavering commitment to public service,” Castor said.
Carole Post will come on board as the city’s administrator for development and economic opportunity, a position previously announced.
“Carole will also be instrumental in helping us tackle housing affordability, one of my core strategic initiatives. The recommendations from this advisory team will be unveiled next week,” Castor said.
Castor’s administration is also in the midst of a nationwide search for a chief sustainability and resilience officer.
Kelly Austin was installed as the city’s permanent human resources and talent development director.
Asked why all of her appointments were internal moves, Castor said the administration considered outside hires, but decided to stick with internal personnel.
“We conducted a nationwide search and found the best candidate was already on our team, she said.