By: Jen Russon
One city manager welcomed another on Wednesday night when a three-year contract to approve Fire Chief Frank Babinec as Michael Goodrum’s replacement was met with unanimous approval.
After serving as Coral Springs city manager for two years, Goodrum announced his resignation in October and will return to Texas just before the New Year to begin working as the city manager in his hometown of Sugar Land.
Goodrum, who said it was a pleasure having Babinec serve as one of his assistant city managers, said he could not be happier when City Attorney John Hearn announced his successor’s start date of December 21.
“The city could not have made a better choice,” said Goodrum.
Babinec was equally effusive.
“When Mike [Goodrum] worked with the Coral Springs commission and staff, he developed and implemented a strategic plan. These well thought out strategies put the city on the right path towards innovation and business expansion. I plan to build upon Mike’s plan,” said Babinec.
Babinec said he would miss the fire department after a long tenure of nearly 30 years, starting as a volunteer, and eventually managing 300 employees when the city appointed him fire chief in 2014.
He said the talented and capable staff at city hall share his vision – and he knows they will help make sure it’s fully realized.
“It’s important to attract and retain businesses to ensure our city’s financial well-being now and into the future. I am excited about the development of the downtown area into a vibrant city center,” said Babinec.
He was referring to plans to raze the Coral Springs Financial Plaza in December so that it can be replaced with a hotel, apartment building, and retail space. Known as the Cornerstone Project, the 168 million dollar refresh of the southwest intersection of University Drive and Sample Road is expected to contemporize and revive the city’s downtown.
Babinec, who holds a degree in organizational leadership, and MBA in public administration from Columbia Southern University, an online university in Alabama, is confident the corporate park in downtown Coral Springs will also receive necessary updates.
“In my new role, I plan to work closely with our economic development office to implement strategies that make doing business in our city more convenient and attractive,” he said, adding that as the city’s fire chief, he recognizes the importance of public safety.
Babinec’s record bears this out; the newly appointed city manager served as lead instructor for the Coral Springs Fire Academy for over a decade and is the current chair for the safety and health section for the Florida Fire Chiefs Association.
His grown children, Alexa and Brendan Babinec, are following in their father’s footsteps.
Alexa, who attends the University of Central Florida, is studying to become a firefighter and paramedic, and Brendan belongs to the Coral Springs Regional Institute of Public Safety ALS Competition Team.
Babinec and his wife Anitra raised their children in the Cypress Run neighborhood of Coral Springs. In all this time, he said he’s felt lucky to be employed by this great city — a safe haven he has always deemed ideal for working and raising a family.
“Our police and fire personnel are recognized as some of the best in the industry, and I am proud to have served alongside them. I will continue the level of public safety services our community deserves as city manager,” he said.
Babinec remains chief of the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department until his new role begins.
His term as city manager will last through January 2023.