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Politics

Top job goes to man with go-getter reputation

Dade City leaders unanimously choose Richard Reade, 36, as the new city manager.

By MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published June 1, 2007


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Dade City leaders unanimously choose Richard Reade, 36, as the new city manager.

DADE CITY - For part of Pam Rhodes' term on the City Council in the small community of Davenport, an energetic 32-year-old was at the helm, finding his way in his first city manager's job.

"He just had that high-energy, go get 'em, let's get ahead approach," Rhodes said of Richard Reade, who was Davenport's city manager from late 2003 to late 2004.

Soon, he'll be the new boss in Dade City.

City commissioners on Thursday unanimously chose Reade to replace outgoing manager Harold Sample. He edged out the second choice, James Gallagher, who was recently the town manager of Dundee.

Reade, now 36, currently runs a land acquisition and development company in Sanford. He previously worked in city government in Auburndale, Haines City and West Palm Beach and holds a master's degree in public administration from Florida State.

The impression he made in Dade City during a marathon interview Wednesday mirrored Rhodes' assessment of him.

Mayor Hutch Brock admired Reade's "potential aggressiveness" and "can-do and will-do attitude."

Commissioner Camille Hernandez said he "thinks outside the box."

"I'm totally sold," said Commissioner Steve Van Gorden. "I'm a Rich Reade fan."

Reade inherits a city still struggling to climb out of a financial hole after years of stagnant growth. It needs a new City Hall, costly expansions to the water treatment plant and more economic development. Plus, an uncertain budget season is approaching with a great unknown about how state lawmakers will restructure property taxes in a special session this month.

Reade, a native of Citrus County, said he was familiar with Dade City long before applying for manager. In high school, he played soccer games at Pasco High.

This week, he said, he got the same good feeling.

"It felt like a family-type atmosphere," he said.

He and his wife, Tina, plan to move here. They are expecting their first child, a boy, within days.

At City Hall, Reade said, his first priority is to familiarize himself with the staff, residents and commissioners.

"I want people to know me and know that I'm accessible," he said. "If a street light's out, I need people to tell me. I have to depend on the community, the commission and the staff. We're all partners."

The commission authorized Brock to negotiate a contract with Reade, who will earn between $75,000 and $95,000 annually.

Reade was the second choice behind Sample when he was hired in 2003. Sample, who is leaving to become vice president of development at the Dade City Business Center, will show Reade the ropes before his targeted departure July 1.

"I think the commission made a very good choice," Sample said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at (352) 521-6521 or moorhead@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 31, 2007, 21:47:58]


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