Jesse Carr has served Plant City for more than 30 years. His retirement celebration will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at City Hall. The entire community is invited to come out and wish Carr farewell.
Building Official Jesse Carr received a special proclamation Monday evening when Mayor Rick Lott and his fellow commissioners took a moment to thank Carr for his more than 30 years of service.
Carr is set to retire tomorrow and the mayor invited the entire community out to take part in the unique celebration. There will be a retirement party hosted in Carr’s honor at City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St., at 2 p.m. where a ceremony will commence. After the ceremony ends at approximately 2:30 p.m., the festivities will continue and those who can’t make it to the program are invited to drop in and say goodbye to the man who has long been a staple in the City of Plant City.
“After a long and storied and almost legendary career, not to mention life in and around Plant City, Jesse has decided to hang up his building spurs and retire out to the ranch,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said.
McDaniel called him a “tireless servant” to the city and his community and said that while serving as building official, Carr has built a resolute reputation of always being the one to go through when they need to “get things done.” Carr attended the commission meeting with his wife Brenda and received a slew of praise and thanks for his dedication to always going above and beyond for the city.
Now, Carr joked, he is ready to focus on cattle ranching and spending time with his grandchildren.
“I can tell you that this commission, the city manager that’s here tonight, those before, always had 100 percent trust and faith that you always made a decision that was right for everyone involved,” Lott said. “I just wanted to say that we respect you, but I can tell you that everyone here loves you. You are deeply loved in this city. Congratulations and on behalf of this commission and on behalf of our city, we would like to present this proclamation in your honor and we can’t wait to celebrate with you on Friday.”
After Carr and his wife posed with commissioners following the proclamation, Carr took a moment to collect his thoughts before giving his heartfelt thanks to those at the dais.
“I appreciate it and I’m not going anywhere. So as long as I’m breathing and this town needs me and I’m walking, I’m here,” Carr said.
Ray Proctor will take Carr’s place following his retirement. He joked at the proclamation that he knew he had big shoes to fill and hoped he could live up to the bar Carr set. Carr was quick to reassure him he would excel in the position.
“It’s amazing to see the type of tenure you’ve had for 34 years and it’s just not a common thing anymore,” Vice Mayor Nate Kilton said. “It speaks a lot to you and your commitment to our community and I think a lot of times people have said, ‘tough but fair,’ in what you do and that’s the way we would have expected it. You never bent or broke any rules, but you always tried to find a way to move things forward the best we can and I think the mayor said that very well. I caught him at the gas station a couple weeks ago and told him there’s a new rule we have, and it’s called “The Hotel California Rule.” He can check out, but he can never leave. We appreciate you sticking around for us as best you can. But you are loved and appreciated and thank you for your 34 years of service.”
Commissioner Mike Sparkman called Carr his “brother” and said when he reflects back to when he was Chairman of the CRA and had a variety of projects he needed done, he never took for granted the fact that all he had to do was call Carr and they would find a way to bring the city’s vision to life.
“I always said the sign of a successful man was to find somebody that could do the job, hire him and give him a chance to do it. And when they come back having done a better job than you anticipated, you’ve got a good deal,” Sparkman said. “And that’s what happened with you with every job you ever did.”
Commissioner Mary Mathis echoed Sparkman’s sentiment and said she knew Carr was planning on retiring several years ago, but stuck around to make sure he was involved in finishing several ongoing projects with the city, including the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center. She gave him her unwavering thanks.
Commissioner Bill Dodson called Carr “unprecedented” in his role as Building Official. He simply added that they wish him all the best and hope that retirement serves him well.