After 23 years of service to the Town of Longboat Key, James Linkogle, Project Manager for the Public Works Department, is retiring.
However, this is not the first time he has tried to leave the department. In 2018, he was scheduled to retire based on his citywide benefits package. He was approached by then City Manager Dave Bullock and asked him to stay longer to help with the city’s power line burial project.
“It was kind of a pre-negotiated decision,” he said. “I was officially forced to retire because of the preferential retirement option plan.”
To receive benefits from his plan, he retired for one working day and took time off over Labor Day weekend before returning to the office the following Tuesday. Its extension was due to expire in August 2021, but has been extended gradually so far.
On Wednesday, a retirement party was held in honor of his service to the city with a few dozen people present to wish him well in retirement.
“I was extremely humbled and honored,” Linkogle said of the participation. “There were so many first-day friends who showed up and even some of the more recent work and residential relationships I’ve made.”
Participants agreed that Linkogle was a “city fixture” during his time in the department and rarely said no to project aid.
“James has a very strong work ethic,” Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said. “He is a very dedicated and loyal person. He is a humble servant and has served the community diligently for the past 23 years.
Brownman was also instrumental in ensuring Linkogle remained with the department as he knew his knowledge and assistance would be invaluable to the city’s power line project.
“James being the person he is and wanting to do good for the city, he decided to help us out,” he said. “Initially he agreed to another extension until January 2022, but I asked him to stay longer. He gave us an extra year beyond what he had planned.
Of the projects he completed during his time in the department, the power line project, beach replenishment projects and construction of the second half of Durante Park were some of his favorites.
“It’s just a wonderful place to work,” Linkogle said. “I pinch myself when I cross the bridge towards Longboat Key. It really is a paradise; it really is a wonderful community.
Prior to his career in the city, Linkogle worked as an electrician and even started his own electrical business. For him, the underground power line project being one of his last has come full circle in his career.
While forming the second half of Durante Park, he vividly remembers the early stages of the draft.
“I remember crawling on my stomach under Brazilian pepper trees, mangroves and through mangrove wetlands trying to create exactly where we were going to cut the trails,” he said.
Another notable project was the beach reloading project by truck in 2016, which consisted of 14,000 to 15,000 loads of sand being moved and placed on beaches.
“It was difficult just because of the scale of the trucks and working out all the little details to make it a seamless project for the citizens,” he said.
Even so, he was unable to identify a favorite project, citing that each one, no matter how small, was fun and useful.
Once retired, Linkogle and his wife Gail plan to travel, spend time with friends and family, and become more involved in their church.
“I know we’re going to stay busy, but we can at least manage the schedule,” he said. “I’ve always been one of those guys who is just as comfortable at work as I am anywhere else, so it will be a bit of an adjustment.”
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