It’s been a long 22 years for Delray City Manager David Harden who announced this summer he will be stepping down in January. I know people who have vilified him for mismanaging bond issue projects, for not being fiscally responsible, and I know others who point to his years of faithful service as Delray has grown from a sleepy little town to a bustling destination.
Whatever your take on Mr. Harden, it’s safe to say he has been at the helm through many significant changes for Delray. Here are a few of the high points:
• Delray Beach is named “Best Run Town n Florida” in 1994 byFlorida Trendmagazine
• Delray Beach wins the All-America City Award TWICE, in 1993 and 2001—the only Florida city to do so
• Delray Beach wins the 2011 Florida Municipal Achievement Award from the Florida League of Cities for its innovation and excellence in developing civics educational programs.
• Delray Beach is named Member City of the Year in 2012 by Palm Beach County's League of Cities for excellence in municipal service.
• Harden is presented with the Florida City and County Management Association's 2010 Award for Career Excellence in 2010.
Harden’s civic activities have included a stint as Chairman of the Osceola District, Boy Scouts of America and in 2002, he received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Osceola District, Gulf Stream Council, Boy Scouts of America. He is a captain in the United States Navy Retired Reserve, an elder of the Soncoast Community Church, and a member of the Rotary Club of Delray Beach. He has weathered racial tensions, bad economies, a battery of hurricanes as well as more than a few political storms—and managed to still be around when Delray was named “Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally.
Here’s hoping he starts sharing in some of that fun in his retirement. Twenty-two years of municipal service is plenty to be proud of.