Vero Beach City Manager to retire Oct. 15

VERO BEACH — Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard has announced he will retire effective Oct. 15.

Gabbard, 61, made the announcement at the close of the last of three days of budget workshops, just after the council had given him and the other two charter officers a positive review for the year.

“There is no issue, it’s just time for me to do some other things in my life,” Gabbard told the Vero Beach Council.  

After retiring as Vero Beach Police Chief, Gabbard filled in as Interim City Manager when David Mekarski resigned. In September 2005, Gabbard was hired on as permanent City Manager.

“Just so you know, you haven’t run me off,” Gabbard said, directed at Councilman Brian Heady.

Heady did not comment during the council’s review of the charter officers, but he has openly critized Gabbard over the past few months.

The past year or so has been a contentious one for the embattled City Manager. He has spent much of his time beating back criticism and controversy over last year’s election, soaring electric rates, and what has been viewed as bloated staffing levels in the city, despite the dire local economic conditions.

Gabbard said he would be meeting with his department heads later today after an executive session of the city council in which they would discuss ongoing labor negotiations with the Teamsters Local 769.

“I will continue to do my darndest to get things done,” he said.

The long-time city employee who will reportedly retire with his third public-service pension, said his job has been sometimes “delightful” and at other times “a challenge.”

Prior to serving as Vero Beach Police Chief, Gabbard retired from the West Palm Beach Police Department at the rank of captain.

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