Town of Palm Beach News

Town of Palm Beach Town Manager Tom Bradford Leaving

A majority vote by the Town of Palm Beach Town Council on Tuesday means the Town will not extend the contract for Town Manager Tom Bradford. The Town will instead look to establish new leadership.

The assessment of Bradford’s contract comes in the wake of the Comprehensive Review of Town Operations, a microscopic look at areas within each department to determine where spending cuts can be applied; an already daunting task that is steadily compounding, as the Council will be tasked with finding someone to fill the  Director of Zoning, Planning and Building Director position when John Page retires in January.

The Council’s decision cites differences in management style as its reason for not renewing Bradford’s contract, which differs greatly from the glowing review he received just one year ago. “I have had major differences with you in the past year,” said.Councilmember Bobbie Lindsay, who provided an instance of a major misstep made by Bradford, when he failed to deliver a pension report that was an intricate part to the budget decision-making process. “We need to have new leadership.”

Despite some protest, this year’s evaluation of Bradford by the Town Council took place in a public setting, as requested by Mayor Gail Coniglio after members of the Council attempted to handle matters privately.

Bradford became Town Manager in January 2015, after serving almost 10 years as Deputy Town Manager, and prior to that having served as Assistant Town Manager for 5 years. Bradford’s contract is due to expire in April 2018, and with him will exit a wealth of Town management lore. So much so, that a unanimous 5-0 vote by the Council was passed, authorizing its President Richard Kleid to begin negotiating a contract to retain Bradford as Town Manager, for up to nine months while a nationwide search for his successor is conducted. 

Town of Palm Beach Town Manager Tom Bradford Leaving

While Bradford maintained his silence, Council members gave their individual feedback; some gave personal opinions with regards to Bradford’s performance history, while others expressed their disdain for the public evaluation process. “I think this is a disgraceful act for this Council,” Council member Moore proclaimed. “I’m horrified you would treat any employee in this manner. However, for the sake of transparency, it probably needed to be stated in public.”

Council member Araskog, who is sometimes Bradford’s harshest critic, actually apologized to him for the public assessment, and gave a supportive statement, “I have tremendous regard for your knowledge of the town and demeanor for handling tough issues.”

Related>>> Town Manager Tom Bradford Gets His Goals from Town Council

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Jonathan enjoys covering local events and occurrences. His writings encompass a wide range of topics from news to entertainment, oftentimes mixing business with pleasure.

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