After nearly a quarter century on the job, Buz Eddy is stepping down as Gulf Breeze City Manager.
Eddy first announced his retirement in January, effective May 1.
“It had partly to do with age, and I just decided that this would be a good time. I’m 62 and a half, and kind of a good time to transition from the driver’s seat to another role for the city,” said Eddy.
Looking back, he says what stands out most for him is the culture – not City Hall, but the community as a whole in both good times and bad.
“People are willing to step up and they’ve worked well together on difficult tasks,” Eddy said. “Like response to hurricanes and dealing with oil spills and just all kinds of natural disasters. So I’ll remember that probably more than anything else.”
“Buz has been the quintessential city manager; it’s difficult to put into words what he has meant. He’s been incredible,” said Gulf Breeze Mayor Matt Dannheiser, who says much of the credit for making the city one of the best places to live in all of Florida goes to Eddy.
It’s going to be difficult, says the Mayor, to imagine the City of Gulf Breeze without Eddy at the helm. But Eddy isn’t going away completely.
“He’s not getting out that easily,” says Dannheiser. “We’ve roped Buz into staying on as a special consultant. He has such tremendous institutional knowledge and skills that he will be invaluable to us.”
Deputy City Manager Samantha Abell takes over on an interim basis, and City Manager Buz Eddy says she has the tools to be successful.
“I think if conditions are similar to what I experienced in the past 25 years, she won’t have any trouble at all,” said Eddy. “She’s got good experience in working for three different cities. That kind of widens your horizon and your experiences that you can apply to a position like city manager.”
Abel was City Manager in Gautier, Mississippi, and had different roles in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Fort Walton Beach. In the coming months, Mayor Matt Dannheiser says they’ll decide whether to remove the “interim” tag from Abel’s title, or begin a search for a new manager.
Gulf Breeze is a manager-council form of government, as was Pensacola until the latter moved to strong mayor a few years ago. Eddy says regardless of setup, governing depends on the situation and the issues at hand.
“That demarcation between mayor and city manager and city council and department director is a Morpheus; it just moves all the time,” Eddy said. “It’s just something you have to be adaptable to.”
The city of Gulf Breeze will honor retiring City Manager Edwin "Buz" Eddy with a community fish fry on Sunday, four to six p-m, at the Gulf Breeze Community Center. It’s also a fundraiser for Take Stock in Children -- a nonprofit that helps low-income, academically qualified students with opportunities in post-secondary education.
More information on the event is available by calling the community center at 934-5140.