Rick Mussett, Development Senior Administrator for the city of St. Petersburg, announced he is leaving the city administration at the end of March.
Musset started with the city in 1980; I began my career there in 1981. With the exception of a short stint up north, Musset has been a fixture in the city’s administrations.
Mussett is an exceptional person. Hard working, intelligent and very skilled in negotiating and arranging the big deal. He easily navigated among both the powerful and the less fortunate.
A city manager once told me, “He the best I got. He is here in the morning when I get here, he is here when I leave, and it does not matter what day of the week it is or the time of day. When I call him, he answers and if I need him he is right there.”
Glowing accolades from then City Manager Bob Obering, who was not always long on praise.
Musset is a steady hand, not given to panic. While others were wringing their hands, Musset was always figuring out a way to get the deal done.
The consummate negotiator, Musset prefers face to face and has always shunned the limelight. These attributes made him a perfect fit for the eight years of the Baker administration.
What many don’t know is Musset’s impact on day-to-day operations. Known more for the big deals, Musset also worked on development plans, real estate deals and property management deals.
Musset is a stickler for detail and will pull an agenda item to change a word in a sentence if he thinks it will make things clearer. At the negotiating table, Musset can drive a hard bargain, but he is well respected.
You will hear a lot of talk about institutional knowledge and the value of the experience that these people bring to the organization, and there is a lot of truth to those concerns. But a wise person once told me “government is a continuum. It has no beginning and no defined end. It just continues. No matter how valuable you may think you are, you probably aren’t.”
Come to think of it, that may have been Rick Musset.
Rick will be missed by City Council, staff and those in the business community who have had the opportunity to work with him over the years. His calm, competence and kindness will be hard to replace.
I certainly count it as an honor to have worked with Rick Musset and be a small part of the many great things he accomplished.
Best of luck Rick.