The Gabber Newspaper‘s July 6 letters to the editor.
St. Pete Beach City Manager
I would like to offer my opinion of Mr. Rey and his performance during his four-plus years at St. Pete Beach. Mr. Rey arrived in early 2019 taking the helm of a city that in the midst of badly needed major infrastructure improvements. Using his decades of experience as a city manager, he successfully managed these projects to completion and now has SPB in the position of maintaining facilities, not improving/modifying them. This was all done without raising the property tax millage rate. I expect that, with most of the major work completed, a reduction of that millage is in the near future.
As mayor, I worked closely with him and observed his open style of management where he encouraged cooperation between departments and direct communication between employees to the benefit of the City. He recognized talented, hard-working employees and identified advancement opportunities to retain them. The feedback I received when talking with employees was overwhelmingly positive. They were taking ownership of their responsibilities and not being micromanaged.
Mr. Rey also advanced the City through the use of services and technology.
The addition of the FreeBee micro transit service has been incredibly successful and appreciated by residents and visitors alike. It has had a very positive effect on our traffic and parking resources. Parking has been digitally overhauled using cashless systems, license plate readers for our enforcement personnel, and even an app-based monitoring system for identifying available parking locations. He successfully negotiated changes to the SunRunner bus rapid transit design to make it more compatible with the City. In reality, none of these changes in bus size, number of stops and route termination could be forced by SPB as the system operates only on state roads. Visitors now can come to SPB via public transit and traverse our island using our free micro transit service.
In summary, I would like to say that Mr. Rey has effectively managed what he inherited and advanced the City’s operations to the envy of our neighboring municipalities — he should get applauded, not vilified based on the negative opinions of a few. –Al Johnson, former mayor, St. Pete Beach
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