By Dan Moffett
Ocean Ridge Town Manager Jamie Titcomb is resigning his position in March to become the first manager in the upstart town of Loxahatchee Groves.
For Titcomb, the change is a return engagement of sorts. Thirteen years ago, when he was with the Palm Beach County League of Cities, he helped shepherd the fast-growing western community through the thorny process of incorporation.
“For me, this provides an opportunity to see through some unfinished business in the steps of creating a viable town from scratch, a professional challenge late in my career,” Titcomb said, “and the ability to make a difference assisting the community to grow to the next level of governance.”
Loxahatchee Groves, a town of roughly 3,500, was incorporated in 2006 and for the last seven years has hired a management services company to run its operations.
With the addition of Titcomb, the town intends to move toward a more traditional manager-council form of government.
Ocean Ridge Mayor Steve Coz scheduled a special Town Council meeting for 2 p.m. Jan. 30 to discuss finding Titcomb’s replacement.
Titcomb, 61, took over as Ocean Ridge’s manager in October 2015, leaving a similar position in Melbourne Beach.
He also has worked as the lead administrator in Lake Park and North Palm Beach. He was the executive director of the county League of Cities for 13 years and a former Boynton Beach city commissioner.
The Ocean Ridge commission hired Titcomb largely because he committed to handling the town’s budget preparation and finances. For roughly 25 years, former Town Clerk Karen Hancsak had performed those duties until she retired shortly after Titcomb’s arrival.
Titcomb and the commission clashed several times during his first year over difficulties preparing the 2016-2017 budget.
He attributed the problems to the town’s outdated computer software and to necessary changes in methodology to improve transparency.
Besides overhauling budgeting, Titcomb developed in-house building inspection services for the town, with a full-time inspector.
He helped oversee a review of building codes and a citizens review of the Ocean Ridge charter. Titcomb also put in place an aggressive maintenance program for the town’s aging drainage system.
“I’m proud of building a professional staff, implementing best-practices process, an issues-free budgeting and auditing program and making headway in the town toward high-level, concierge-service local government,” he said.
Titcomb’s annual salary in Ocean Ridge is $112,500. He said the salary details of his Loxahatchee Groves contract were still being negotiated.