Mayor Buddy Dyer's
Oath of Office Address
Thank you Mayor Frederick
for those kind words of introduction. We all owe a debt of gratitude to
Mayor Bill Frederick. He was truly one of Orlando's great Mayor's and so
many of his accomplishments shaped this city and are still very evident
today. I particularly have appreciated his counsel and advice during my
first term. Although I suspect he would like me to add the disclaimer
that he played no role in some of our decisions. With that being said, I
can tell you that one of the highlights of my first term was the
dedication of Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake in his honor. Thank you
Well it's been 15 months -- 15 months since I was sworn in as Orlando's
32nd Mayor. It has been a challenging 15 months and a rewarding 15
months. I can say without any hesitation it has been the best 15 months
of my professional and political life and I have enjoyed every minute of
it...even when I read the Sentinel.
So today I want to say thank you to the citizens of Orlando for
entrusting me with this job for a full four-year term. Karen and I want
to especially thank the people here today in our audience who worked so
hard to get us here.
Those of you who stood with us during this election will never be
Let me just take a minute to publicly say thank you to Orlando's first
lady and the love my life, my wife Karen Dyer and our two sons, Trey and
I want to congratulate Commissioners Sheehan, Wyman and Page on their
reelections and welcome all of you to this inaugural day. Bienvenidos!
Fifteen months ago I stood on these steps and outlined a vision and
direction for our city. I asked you then to imagine a great city and my
hope then, as it is today, is that this administration will be
remembered for creating the Orlando Comeback that did just that.
It was a grand vision, not without hurdles and I know many in the
audience that day and indeed a few in the press snickered at an agenda
so vast and consuming saying it could not be accomplished in four years
much less over the course of just one year.
They were counting on us playing it safe, following the beaten path and
keeping our heads down until after reelection.
After all, how could we possibly restore our working relationship with
Orange County government, pass a living wage, reinvigorate a downtown
that had been deteriorating for years, continue to strengthen our
neighborhoods, work to diversify our economy, then find the necessary
dollars for new Pre-K classrooms for our children and and do it all
without raising property taxes?
And that was the question many asked before we walked through these
doors last February to hear the news regarding the city’s finances.
But we took an attitude into City Hall that carries over to this day. We
are not here to tread water. Simply put, can't do won't do in our
I stand here today, not to offer a new vision or direction after just a
year in office but to report to you that we are steadfast and resolute
in our determination to create that great city I asked all of us to
imagine and to let you know that we have laid the foundation to do just
The great city that I challenged us all to envision included a vibrant
downtown with retail, restaurants, professional sports, the arts and
entertainment, including a new Performing Arts Center…a city that would
maintain its posture as the economic hub of Orange County and the
Central Florida region. Today we are well on our way to eliminating the
For Rent signs and empty storefronts that have plagued our downtown.
Those signs will soon be replaced by spectacular new buildings, but more
importantly, new residents in our downtown who will not only work in and
around our urban core, but who will live downtown creating the life
blood for the heart of our city.
Today we reconfirm our commitment to resolve the challenges of the
Parramore neighborhood…challenges that include our ability to provide
decent and affordable housing and rid that neighborhood of the vices
that destroy human lives, drugs and prostitution. Our Parramore Task
Force has completed its work and the time to act to make Parramore the
shining star in our galaxy of neighborhoods is upon us.
Let me take this opportunity to reassure the residents of Parramore that
there will always be a place in YOUR neighborhood for you. And on the
issue of crime, drugs and prostitution in your neighborhood...saying
Parramore isn't as bad as used to be, doesn't mean it is as good as it
can be. In the coming weeks Police Chief McCoy and I will bring to City
Council a plan that will make it very,very difficult for drug dealers an
criminals to continue to call Parramore home.
In the last fifteen months we have passed a living wage for our city
employees and an ordinance that requires that those businesses that work
with the city also pay their employees a living wage. We’re in the
process of completing a two-year capital construction plan that will
include new community centers for Rosemont and College Park and a new
pool at the Smith Center in Washington Shores. And most importantly, we
have balanced our budget and created a budget process that is open for
all of our citizens to review.
These challenges were not met alone. Let me take this opportunity to
publicly thank our City Council for their work and their willingness to
cast the tough votes that have been required to move this city forward!
Their support and approach to building this great city is what makes
most of what I have talked about here this evening possible.
My friends, I believe the next four years will be one of the most
dynamic and exciting periods in our city’s history with even bigger
The success we have had in laying a foundation to achieve our goals must
be carried forward to address the larger strategic challenges that we
face and we must address those challenges head on if we are to be a
First, we must find a way to bridle growth and make it work for us and
not against us.
By all estimates over the next four years Orlando and the Central
Florida region will grow and flourish at an unprecedented rate. Each day
hundreds of people move into the state of Florida and many of them are
headed to Central Florida.
As we deal with growth it is imperative that as a community we seek the
path of communication and collegiality that Chairman Crotty and I have
fostered and that we work together as a community, as a county and in
concert with our school board as we grow our city and our region.
While the most recent public issue has been education infrastructure as
it relates to growth, it’s also the most important long-term issue that
we as a city and a region must address.
Throughout my political life, there has been no single issue more
important to me than the education of our children. On this issue I have
learned that rarely do sound bites and political posturing help to build
the schools we need so desperately for the children that live here
today, nor will it help us plan the schools we need for tomorrow. Solid
solutions arrived at in concert with all parties, a willingness to
expend political capitol to do what is right for children and an action
agenda that will require we move with dispatch once we arrive at
solutions that work for all of us, is the prescription we need when it
comes to our children.
Later this month, I will introduce an urban school plan and I will ask
our City Commission and School Board to consider implementing this plan,
which if put in place, will provide more specific school capacity
requirements than are engrained in the Martinez doctrine and will also
renew our partnership with the school board in the planning of new
The Orlando Comeback we have created must include a guarantee that no
child living within the boundaries of our city will be penalized as a
result of new growth within our city limits. Our plan will do just that.
The second problem we face with growth is transportation. In the coming
months we need to muster the political will to offer our constituents
solutions that will fix the transportation problems we face today and
put in place measures that address our transportation needs in the
We must work towards a long-term solution to our transportation problems
and if we face rejection at the ballot box of one idea or another, we
need not be afraid to offer alternative solutions until we get it right.
Third, while the city has been successful in creating the environment
for our major projects to stimulate the revitalization of our downtown,
we need to make sure that these projects we help bring to fruition
benefit the skilled workers living here in our city and region.
It is time we put into place a measure that will help ensure that
skilled tradesmen and women can compete for work on these new building
sites and not be forced to bid against companies or contractors who hire
people who will work for less than minimum wage and without
healthcare...it is unfair to the undocumented worker who came to this
country seeking a better life but it is even more unfair to the Florida
worker who can't compete against wage levels of a third world country.
To that end on June 7th I will ask the City Council to pass a
responsible contractor policy which will ensure that construction
projects that utilize city funds will be required to hire skilled and
trained workers for those job sites.
Fourth, we need to shift our economic development focus from new
buildings for our downtown to pursuing new jobs for our city. We have
created a new environment and now we need to spend our time and energy
letting people know about Orlando, here in our region, our state and
around the world. I will continue to pursue creating an economy of the
mind for Orlando taking advantage of the electronic highways we already
have and the assets that the University of Central Florida can bring to
our downtown. Working in concert with the University we can find ways to
create and pursue jobs and opportunities that will create the economy we
want for us and for our children.
Finally, my fellow citizens of Orlando and distinguished guests here
today, we must address the silent crisis that exists in our community
and in the long term affects all of us. Today half of the children who
live within the boundaries of our community are neglected, abused or
facing economic hardship. I am proud of the success we have had in
expanding Pre-K classrooms here in the city but we must come together as
a community and begin to address how we can better the lives of our most
precious resource, our children.
Fifteen months ago I reminded all you of the poet's words, "Happy are
those who dream dreams and have the courage to make them come true." It
is my hope that we have proven our muster regarding our courage to make
our dreams a reality for this great city.
There should be no doubt or question in any quarter regarding our
willingness to make the tough decisions necessary to move this city
forward. While that approach may not make everyone happy or be a recipe
for large margin political wins, it is a formula for progress that will
always be followed by our administration.
And I believe our willingness to act is why you have given me a
I can promise you here today that, THAT attitude, spirit and willingness
to do what is right and necessary for our city will be carried forward
these next four years in each and every endeavor we undertake.
I thank you again for the trust you have placed in me by giving me this
honor and privilege to serve as the 32nd Mayor of the City of Orlando.
May God bless our soldiers who stand at posts overseas so that we may
meet here today.
May God Bless America.
And, God Bless Orlando.
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