By: Sharon Aron Baron
After 17 years with the city, Coral Springs City Manager Erdal Dönmez announced his retirement to the commission at Wednesday morning’s meeting.
“I’m going to be 60 on May 1, and in today’s standards it’s not really a retirement age, however, it’s a goal, and I’m there,” he told the commission. “I know there’s no perfect time to retire, but this is probably as good as it gets.”
Dönmez was first appointed city manager in 2010 after serving as its deputy/assistant city manager for ten years. When he became city manager, it was in tough economic times. “With everyone’s help, we managed to make the city, and I’m underlining “we” in almost every area equal or better, and I’m very proud to say that.”
Mayor Skip Campbell said he is happy for him that he’s doing something that he wants to do and he’ll be able to spend more time with his dad and family, many who who do not live in this country, but he admits he was floored when he found out the news last Friday because he said he didn’t see it coming.
“There’s been actually a good working relationship between the entire commission, city manager and the city staff. He’s gotten us through some very tough times and done it in a professional manner and I thought he was a good city manager. I didn’t think he’d be retiring.”
“We’re in great shape right now,” said Dönmez. He told the commission about the low crime rates in the city and the highest accreditation ratings in the country year after year which is testimony to having their own 911 dispatch system.
Dönmez said that he has two successors: Deputy City Managers Jennifer Bramley and Susan Grant who are well-prepared for his departure. “They will not only just step in and pick up the ball and move on, but I think they are probably going to be much better than I am.”
On Saturday, the commission will be holding a workshop and Campbell will bring the issue of a nationwide search up. He believes there should be a nationwide search because there is talent out there. “We’ve got a great city in Coral Springs and I just don’t want to let what we’ve done fall by the wayside.”
He said he wants to make sure whoever they hire can work well with the leaders of the police and fire department as well as everyone else.
With his contract calling for 90 days notice, Dönmez will stay longer – until May 1. He said he wants to experience life without deadlines, but after that, he knows he may become bored and then go back to doing something else. It could even be going back to becoming a city manager, but he said it would be probably be something else. His in-laws just moved up from Miami and he will remain living in the City of Coral Springs where he said he loves his home.
Campbell wants the new city manager hired by the beginning of April so that they can work with Dönmez until his departure.