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Ousted Dade City manager offers to step in

By CHASE SQUIRES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 4, 2003

DADE CITY -- Ousted longtime city manager Ben Bolan wants back in at City Hall.

In a handwritten letter, Bolan, 62, of Ruskin offered his services Monday as interim city manager while city commissioners hunt for a replacement for outgoing City Manager Doug Drymon.

If the vice mayor's reaction is any indication, the offer may land with a thud.

Drymon, city manager since 1998, announced last week that he intends to step down July 31 in search of a new job.

He said the lengthy notice would allow commissioners to properly advertise the position and interview candidates. Drymon said he has no pending offers.

Commissioners briefly discussed advertising the position but left some areas unsettled, suggesting a higher pay range might be in order and asking local business organizations to lend their own desired qualities in a city manager.

"If we can't find someone by the time Doug Drymon leaves on July 31, we're in big trouble," vice mayor Bill Dennis said Monday.

"If we did seek an interim, I would imagine it would be somebody like (assistant to the city manager) Laura Beagles or someone who is already there."

Bolan was city manager in Dade City for 20 years until 1993, when Mayor Scott Black -- back then he was a commissioner -- sought Bolan's removal. He was joined by then-Commissioners GreggLynch and Nancy McClain.

Black did not give a specific reason for the move in 1993 but cited "simmering" problems.

The city at the time was beset by internal problems and allegations of misconduct. Critics alleged Bolan was either too slow to react to the problems or helped create them.

When his resignation was requested, Bolan responded with a letter from his attorney alluding to a federal lawsuit concerning alleged age discrimination. He later negotiated a resignation.

Monday's letter was addressed to Black, as mayor, and city commissioners.

"I would be honored to serve as an interim city manager for Dade City," Bolan wrote. "Check with the city attorney, Bill Brewton, or ask the dept. heads and admin staff. Talk to community leaders of business and civic organizations. After more than 20 years of service to the city and the community, I already know most of them . . . They know what kind of person I am, and my management style: "Learn by Doing."

After leaving his Dade City post, Bolan's resume indicates he served as community development director/administrative assistant to the mayor from March 1994 to May 1995. Since then, he indicates he has filled his retirement with part-time consulting, writing, traveling and volunteering.

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