Marlon Brown named interim Sarasota city manager, with City Commission plans for him to succeed Barwin

Deputy Police Chief Robinson named interim deputy city manager

Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. Image via Twitter

On the evening of Dec. 7, the Sarasota City Commission appointed Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown the interim city manager and moved to transition him into that role permanently.

Then, on Dec. 10, the city announced that Deputy Chief of Police Pat Robinson, a 20-year veteran of the Sarasota Police Department, had been appointed interim deputy city manager.

Brown has served as Sarasota’s deputy city manager since 2009, a city news release noted. “He will succeed City Manager Tom Barwin, who is retiring at the end of this month following more than eight successful years leading the organization and community through significant projects and initiatives,” the release pointed out.

The City Commission officially accepted Barwin’s retirement transition plan during its regular meeting on Dec. 7 “and unanimously supported the drafting of an employment agreement for Brown to become Sarasota’s next city manager and the first minority to serve in that role,” the release noted.

“I’m honored to receive the support of the commissioners and excited to continue working with them and our fantastic team of employees as we serve this city,” Brown said in the release. “I’m looking forward to a smooth transition as we all work together to help Sarasota remain a world-class community. I’m also grateful for the exemplary leadership and friendship of City Manager Barwin over the past eight years and wish him all the best in the future,” Brown added.

A native of the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean, Brown received a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and he earned a Master of City Planning degree from Georgia Tech University, the release continued.

He has more than 27 years of local government experience, having held such positions as transportation planning administrator, Metropolitan Planning Organization administrator and assistant to the city manager with the City of Tallahassee, the release pointed out. Before coming to Sarasota, Brown served as county administrator for Gadsden County, Fla.

As Sarasota’s deputy city manager, the release continued, Brown has been responsible for daily oversight of the city’s Public Works, Utilities, Planning, Development Services and Parks and Recreation departments. Further, “Brown has played a key role in developing the city’s annual budget, facilitating meetings with citizens and the local business community and responding to issues and concerns from the public, among many other duties,” the release said.

“He has achieved numerous certifications in public administration and has been active with many professional, public and civic entities throughout his career,” the release added. He serves on the board of United Way Suncoast and chairs the United Way’s Community Impact Committee.

“In his free time,” the release noted, “Brown enjoys sports, traveling, exploring Sarasota’s diverse cultural, recreational and culinary offerings and spending time with his family.

Brown chose Deputy Police Chief Robinson as interim city manager, “to assist with the leadership transition,” a separate release explained.

City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch listens as Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown makes a report during a 2017 City Commission meeting. File photo

A Sarasota native, Brown has ascended through the Sarasota Police Department’s ranks, serving as an officer, detective, sergeant and captain, the release noted. In 2015, Chief Bernadette DiPino appointed him deputy chief, in which capacity he has overseen all four divisions of the department.

Deputy Sarasota Police Chief Pat Brown. Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department

“Pat has developed a positive relationship with our employees and the citizens of Sarasota during his long service with the organization,” Brown said in the release. “His in-depth knowledge of our community and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead will be a great asset to our leadership team.”

Robinson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in public safety executive leadership from St. Cloud University, the release continued. He is an Anti-Defamation League/Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellow and a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

“Robinson is an active member of the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the International City/County Management Association, the release said. He also chairs the executive board of First Step of Sarasota and is a founding board member for The Academy at Glengary. Additionally, he serves as an adviser for Teen Court Sarasota and Selah Freedom/Selah Way Foundation.

“I’m honored to accept this position as part of the city’s excellent leadership team, and I look forward to continuing my service to my hometown in a new capacity,” Robinson said in the release.