Updated March 25, 2022, 5:55 PM
Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar is leaving his post to become the city manager of Naples, Florida.
The date of his departure has not been determined, but Boodheshwar said Friday it will likely be in late May or early June.
Boodheshwar said he wasn’t actively looking to leave the town but was contacted by a recruiter for the city about the job and decided to apply. The Naples City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to offer him the job.
“That was very heartening and it kind of tipped the scales for me,” Boodheshwar said. “There are very few places in the country [for which] I would even think about leaving this town. As I learned more about Naples, it became clear to me that Naples was one of them.”
Located on Florida’s southwest coast, Naples is a seasonal community with a population that ranges from 22,000 residents to about 40,000 during the peak winter season.
Mayor Danielle Moore said she learned the news from Boodheshwar on Thursday.
“He is obviously an incredible asset to the town and to our community in general,” Moore said. “It’s a sad day for our community. But he’s such a superstar, I understand why they would want him.”
Boodheshwar joined the town 16 years ago as director of the Recreation Department. Peter Elwell, who was town manager, soon expanded his duties to include management of “special projects.”
Boodheshwar was named deputy town manager, which is the town’s second highest administrative post, after Elwell left and was succeeded as town manager by Tom Bradford in 2015.
Boodheshwar remained as deputy town manager after Bradford left in 2018 and was succeeded by Town Manager Kirk Blouin.
His major accomplishments with Palm Beach included leading town preparations for, and the response to, major storms including hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
He guided staff efforts to return the town’s Par 3 Golf Course to profitability through management model changes and new marketing priorities.
Boodheshwar was heavily involved in the multi-year planning effort for the town’s 2011 Centennial celebration.
He also led the project team for construction of the $14 million Mandel Recreation Center that opened in December 2019.
Boodheshwar also is a former board chairman for the Town of Palm Beach United Way and a member of that organization’s executive committee.
Boodheshwar said his next step is to negotiate an employment contract with the City of Naples for approval by its council on April 4. He said he will then work on completing a transition plan for Palm Beach.
Boodheshwar said he loves the town and its employees and is appreciative of the experiences the town has given to him.
“This is a really bittersweet moment for me,” he said. “I really could have seen myself finishing my career here. These opportunities – they come in a blue moon. It just feels right. There’s a lot of parallels [between Palm Beach and Naples]: great people, great community, high expectations and a great quality of life.”
Bob Wright, chairman and chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Civic Association, said Boodheshwar was well known and well respected during his 16 years in Palm Beach.
“He took a leadership role in major projects and did them very well,” Wright said. “That has been a real benefit to the town. I’ve never heard anybody say anything about him that wasn’t good. We’ve lost somebody very good and Naples is going to get somebody very good. As much as we love him, we realize that they feel the same way.”
In early 2021, Boodheshwar applied for the job of city manager of the City of Miami Beach.
Before coming to Palm Beach, he held leadership roles in several municipalities, including Massillon, Ohio; Munster, Ind.; East Chicago, Ind.; and Bloomington, Ind.
He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Bowling Green State University. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Florida Atlantic University.