The era of Peter Lombardi in the Village of Pinecrest government is about to come to an end, and his will be big shoes to fill.
Certainly, Lombardi’s departure comes as no surprise. When his contract was renewed for four years by former Mayor Gary Matzner and the Village Council, Lombardi stated that it would be his last contract and that he would retire. However, the economic downturn has affected Lombardi, just like most of the rest of us, and he publicly stated that he would like a two-year extension.
While that request seemed acceptable to most of the members of the Village Council, it did not sit well with the current Mayor, Cindy Lerner, who let it be known in no uncertain terms that she was not at all happy with Lombardi, either personally or professionally. Without going into specifics (those are available on the Pinecrest website <http://www.pinecrestfl. gov/> via streaming video of the last council meeting), suffice it to say that the Mayor makes some good points in her argument for not renewing or extending Lombardi’s contract. Still, the man will be missed.
It was Lombardi who guided the Village through the embryonic stage of becoming a municipality. And the fact that he has remained in office these many years while the faces on the Village Council changed with regularity is a credit to his political acumen.
Lombardi’s stamp is on just about every project or endeavor that has been conceived, launched or built in Pinecrest over the last 14 years. He hired just about all of the early Pinecrest municipal staff, including two police chiefs, the second of which, John Hohensee, has done an outstanding job of building one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country.
It was Lombardi who mapped out the budgets for the Village and determined how revenue would be generated, and how it would be spent. He was at the forefront of the drive to find a suitable location for Village Hall, and then led the charge to build it on the South Dixie Highway location where it now stands. He was the man in the hot seat when the bond issue was floated to generate the necessary capital to buy the Parrot Jungle property, which is now our beautiful Pinecrest Gardens. And he has been a big supporter of creating the parks and recreation structure in our Village, including the development of our outstanding Evelyn Greer Park, named for the first Mayor of Pinecrest.
He’s out when his contract ends this summer. We can only hope that in these remaining months that Lombardi is on the job, he and Mayor Lerner will be able to put aside their differences and work together in a civil manner for the good of the Village of Pinecrest.