11198359268?profile=RESIZE_710xSouth Palm Beach Town Manager Robert Kellogg says his goodbyes to (l-r) Maj. Christopher Keane, Lt. Christopher Caris, Sgt. Mark Garrison and Deputy Donna Korb of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. In 2019, Kellogg and attorney Glen Torcivia negotiated a 10-year merger agreement for the sheriff to police the town. Mary Thurwachter/The Coastal Star

By Mary Thurwachter

Robert Kellogg hadn’t prepared a farewell speech for his last meeting as town manager of South Palm Beach. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, he rose to his feet and made his way to the podium.

“As you know it’s my last meeting,” he said near the end of the May 9 gathering. “My shelf life expired. And those of you who know me, know the most important thing in my life is my family. I got an email from my wife Saturday at 6 o’clock in the evening. The message said that Jeremy, my son-in-law, called.

“He and Kelly were in an active shooting at Allen, Texas,” Kellogg said, referring to his daughter. His grandson Britton was also present during the May 6 mass shooting at a Dallas area mall.

“Fortunately, my son-in-law, daughter and my grandchild were not injured,” Kellogg continued. “My daughter and grandson were in the bathroom when the shots were fired. My son-in-law was in a store nearby. A short time later, I got a picture of what my daughter saw when she came out of the bathroom.”

Kellogg showed the photograph on his phone that his son-in-law sent of Mauricio Garcia — the suspect in the shooting — dead on the floor after he was shot by police.

“After all of this, I think I’m out of gas,” Kellogg said, his hands shaking. “It’s time for me to leave. I wish you well.”

Town Council members were moved by his words.

“It’s a crazy world we’re in,” said Vice Mayor Bill LeRoy. “I wish you all to be careful. Avoid crowds. Take care of yourself.”

LeRoy had kind things to say about the retiring manager.

“I want to thank Mr. Kellogg for his 41/2 years with us,” LeRoy said. “You might recall, he was our manager through the pandemic. We all remember what that was like — big, scary and unknown. I was getting a giant Q-tip shoved up my nose here in the parking lot. He’s done a very fine job and I thank you for what you’ve done for us, Bob.”

Kellogg has been the full-time town manager since 2019. His successor is former Loxahatchee Groves and Ocean Ridge manager Jamie Titcomb, who will begin June 5.

In a discussion with The Coastal Star after the meeting, Kellogg said he wants to spend as much time as he can with family in Dallas.

“My wife and I will be doing a lot of traveling and spending time in Europe,” he said. “We will become snowbirds living in Cleveland in the summer and here in the winter.

“We have season tickets to see my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and can’t wait for football season to start. It will surely beat flying to Ohio every weekend.”

He will miss staff members in South Palm Beach: “They are amazing,” he said.

As a final note, Kellogg said that one of the most frustrating things he has experienced in his 45-year career has been the lack of appreciation people have for those who work for the public.

“On balance, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented and dedicated people around, and they all have made me a better manager and person,” he said.  

In other news, Maj. Christopher Keane informed the council of a 3% increase in the cost of the town contract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for the next fiscal year.

An additional increase may be necessary if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a bill regarding employers’ contributions to the Florida Retirement System that would require PBSO to increase its contribution.

After more than 60 years with its own police department, the town, in a cost-cutting move, merged with PBSO in 2019.

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