FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Heather Fagan 407.246.3423
Cassandra Lafser 407.246.2182
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Announces Leadership Changes
Orlando, FL – May 3, 2011 – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced leadership changes following the retirement of Police Chief Val Demings and Public Works Director Alan Oyler. Mayor Dyer has appointed Deputy Chief Paul Rooney to serve as the 37th Police Chief and Rick Howard as the new Public Works Director. Additionally, Mayor Dyer has promoted Brooke Bonnett to Director of Economic Development filling a vacant position.
“Paul, Rick and Brooke have proven themselves to be leaders in our organization and I am proud that we have been able to develop our future leaders from within the City,” said Mayor Dyer.” These are some of the City’s largest departments and I am confident under this new leadership there will be a seamless transition allowing us to continue providing our residents and businesses with the superior services they expect.”
After 27 years with the Orlando Police Department and more than three years serving as Orlando’s first female Police Chief, Demings has announced her retirement effective on June 1, 2011.
As the newly appointed Police Chief, Rooney will oversee the day-to-day operations of the department and serve as chief counsel to the Mayor on matters of public safety. Chief Rooney has been a member of the Orlando Police Department for more than 24 years and has been serving as Deputy Chief for the more than three years. Chief Rooney has spent much of his career overseeing tactical operations aimed at reducing violent crime and taking drugs off the streets. Currently as Deputy Chief, he is responsible for the Patrol Division, the largest section of OPD comprised of 432 employees. The Patrol Division has developed tactical patrol units that have been responsible for apprehending the most violent criminals. After his promotion to Deputy Chief, Rooney was appointed to the position of High Risk Incident Commander, responsible for overseeing the most dangerous incidents such as the 2009 Downtown office building shooting.
“Over the last three years, there has been a dramatic decline in violent crimes in Orlando and keeping our community safe will always be a top priority,” said Mayor Dyer. “With Chief Rooney’s strong background we will continue to target street level crime and the removal of drugs and crime guns from the streets.”
After serving as Public Works Director for six years and 28 overall years with the City, Alan Oyler will retire effective June 1, 2011.
With more than 26 years at the City, Rick Howard brings extensive engineering expertise to his new position. As Director, Howard will be responsible for overseeing the City’s capital improvement projects, solid waste management, wastewater collection and treatment systems, stormwater facilities and traffic management. While at the City, Howard has been instrumental in developing Infrastructure Inventory Systems for our streets, sidewalks and stormwater facilities, led the City’s efforts to secure funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and assisted the City in achieving a Community Rating Service Class 6 ranking with the National Flood Insurance Program resulting in a 20% discount for Orlando residents who have flood insurance.
“The functions of our Public Works department probably have the most direct impact on our resident’s daily lives from trash pick up to street maintenance and the management of our wastewater system. With Rick’s expertise I am confident we will continue develop innovative processes to provide efficient and responsive services to our customers,” adds Mayor Dyer.
Brooke Bonnett will assume the responsibility of Economic Development Director, filling a vacancy left after Frank Billingsley was appointed as Mayor Dyer’s Chief of Staff. In her new role, Bonnett will oversee the areas of planning, permitting and inspection services, code enforcement, Downtown development, transportation planning, business assistance and economic development. Bonnett started at the City in 1998. Since that time she has served in various leadership capacities including Business Development Division Manager, Recreation Parks Manager and since 2006 as the Economic Development Deputy Director. Bonnett was instrumental in the development of Medical City and is currently managing the Creative Village project, the redevelopment of a 68-acre Brownfield site in Downtown Orlando into an urban village where high-tech companies will locate and creative workers and residents will live, work, learn and play.
According to Dyer, “the role of economic development within our City has continued to grow increasing important amid these challenging economic conditions. Under Brooke’s leadership we will continue to focus on initiatives that grow our small businesses and diversify our economy, building on our tourism, medical and high tech industries.”
All three appointments will go before the City Council for confirmation on May 9, 2011.