Daytona Beach’s longtime City Manager James Chisholm announced his plans to retire in the spring of 2021. Chisholm, who is the longest tenured manager in the city’s history, was appointed August 2004 to the position. His last day of employment will be in March 2021.
As city manager, Chisholm leads the day-to-day operations, and oversees a $386 million budget and about 930 employees who serve a community of nearly 65,000 residents across 65 square miles.
“It’s been a privilege to work with many dedicated city commissioners, staff members, supporters and stakeholders during the past 16 years. My time in Daytona Beach has been personally rewarding because we’ve been able to accomplish so much. When I was hired, we rolled up our sleeves and immediately addressed serious, divisive community and financial issues including racial tensions, high crime rates, budget deficiencies and aging infrastructure. Today, Daytona Beach is in a very strong and positive position,” said Chisholm.
“I am proud of the significant improvements made throughout our entire community. We’ve been able to initiate and complete transformative projects, which will shape the future of this great city for generations. I will always love Daytona Beach.”
During his tenure, Chisholm spearheaded important transformative projects and initiatives including:
- Redeveloped the historic Daytona Beach Pier and recruited Joe’s Crab Shack, a national chain to anchor the structure, which continues to provide positive return on investment
- Increased workforce diversity in hiring and promotions
- Created the city’s first Emergency Operational Center following the 2004 hurricane season where Daytona Beach saw the effects of three major hurricanes
- Following the no-name rain event in May 2009, oversaw the development and design of multiple solutions to alleviate flooding issues in the Midtown area
- Built two, multi-million dollar community centers in underserved communities
- Upgraded recreational facilities including several new parks while improved existing amenities in other parks
- Relocated police headquarters to Mason Avenue and built a fire station on LPGA, years before current growth on the west side of the city
- Transformed the city’s law enforcement and technology efforts becoming a state and nationally recognized leader in public safety
- Worked collaboratively and tirelessly to design, fund and build Volusia County’s first homeless assistance center
- Addressed serious infrastructure deficiencies in some of the oldest areas of the city including Orange Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- Created specific parks to collect additional stormwater to alleviate neighborhood flooding and initiated the Bennett Swamp Rehydration and Conservation Project, which redirects and disperses up to six million gallons per day of reclaimed water
- Enhanced and strengthened the city’s Code Enforcements efforts to improve neighborhoods, and reorganized the city’s permitting department, which has seen the successful enforcement and demolition of almost 100 derelict structures
- Negotiated multi-year collective bargaining agreements with the workforce’s unions after years of impasse. The agreements were overwhelmingly ratified by bargaining union members.
- Reformed police and fire pension benefits to improve sustainability
Chisholm indicated his willingness to assist the City Commission in selecting his successor.
In his retirement, Chisholm looks forward to spending more time with his wife Tina, his daughter, Rebecca, and their two dogs, Abigail and Buddy. He plans to spend more time enjoying and pursuing his hobbies including golfing, fishing and traveling.