Jim Mudd resigned this past week after eight years as Collier County manager. He says he needs more time and strength to fight his brain cancer.
The Daily News invited readers to submit tributes.
We received so many — from employees and others — that we are unable to publish them all in a single day. They start in this section and will continue on our Editorial/Opinion pages this coming week.
Thanks to our readers for participating, and best wishes to Jim Mudd and his family.
— Jeff Lytle, Perspective editor
* * *
I am lucky to have worked with Jim Mudd. He is a great leader and man — a great character. He is smart, hard-working and honest.
He expects his managers to work hard, always tell the truth and always do their job with the best interests of the citizens of Collier County in mind.
He does not give out praise easily, but he never misses a chance to say “thank you” to the agency’s staff. He is the kind of leader that you want to follow.
In my 30-year career, I have learned just how rare Jim Mudd is. The word “tzadik” in Hebrew means “one who acts righteously.” I have never known a man to better fit that word.
I am a better person because of him.
Thank you, Jim. Fight on!
— Barry Axelrod
Director, Information Technology Department
* * *
Mr. Jim Mudd came to Collier County at a very low point in the county’s history. He was the Public Utilities Division administrator and was full of fire and energy.
We who work for the PUD were so very happy to welcome him.
As sad as we were to see him leave PUD and become the deputy county manager, and then county manager, we also knew he was going to spread his energy throughout the entire Collier County government organization. He did just that and made us the best county in Florida.
Mudd is not only professional, but personal as well. He knows everyone’s name and about their families. It was always amazing when you walked down the hall and he said “hello” to you — with your name.
We will all miss Jim so very much. He will always be a part of the Collier County family. He stood for honesty, integrity and hard work. It is very easy to be all those things when you have a leader such as Jim.
I called him Mr. Mudd at the beginning of this writing, but we all knew to call him Jim.
— Teresa Riesen
* * *
I am honored to have worked with a leader like Jim Mudd whose integrity, honesty, loyalty, sincerity and foresight has inspired me to be the best that I can be every day, both at my job in Collier County government and in my own life.
He is an inspiration to all who know him.
— Joe Bellone
Manager, Utility Billing & Customer Service
* * *
Thank you for a job well done, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers through these challenging times.
— Marguerite Drouin
Collier Area Transit
* * *
Jim Mudd, as many have found, is an extraordinary man — coming from a military background with just the right amount of discipline to handle a job such as county manager.
While there were others before him and others who will come after him, Jim has set his mark in history by being the best county manager the county commissioners could have ever chosen for this sometimes not so popular position. He has brought forth many assets to his role and has managed the respect of almost everyone who has come in contact with him.
He is a revered family man and active in his community, at times over and above the call. While he is wished the best that life can offer at this time, he will be sorely missed by many of his peers.
When it comes to dignity and perseverance, Jim is in a class by himself. He, along with his family are all wished the love and strength necessary to get them through these troubled times.
— Marcia R. Kendall
Senior Planner, Comprehensive
* * *
If ever there were a man who selflessly dedicated himself to delivering the best of public service to the citizens of Collier County, it is Jim Mudd — a gentleman and a leader, highly respected and admired by anyone who had the privilege of working with him.
— Peter Lund
Manager, Customer Service
& Utility Ordinance Enforcement
* * *
I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Jim Mudd for his leadership over the past eight years. Jim demonstrated the skill and temperament that this organization needed.
But Jim also managed to deliver a great story with a hearty laugh, and it is apparent that Jim’s has been a life well lived. His unwavering commitment to ethics has been foundational to everything he does.
He once spoke about ending each day by looking in the mirror with a clear conscience because “your reputation is the most important thing you have.”
Most of all, Jim set high expectations for his employees, not just for the good of the organization but so that they could realize their God-given potential.
It is without question that Collier County is a better community because of Jim’s service, and those of us who were privileged to serve under him have been blessed.
Thanks, Jim, and may God richly bless you and your family!
— Jeff Walker
Director, Risk Management
* * *
It is difficult to express in words the depth of respect and admiration I hold for Jim Mudd and how eternally grateful I am for having had the privilege of working with him.
I have never encountered a more brilliant mind or a more visionary, passionate and colorful leader. For me, Jim has been much more than a boss. In his unique way, he has been a mentor, a teacher, a coach. He sets the bar extremely high, but never expects more from anyone than he is willing give.
While he will be deeply missed, he has left his mark on this county, his staff, and most definitely on me.
He will not be forgotten.
— Len Golden Price
Administrative Services administrator
* * *
I consider it a great privilege and honor to have been an employee of Jim Mudd. He is a great leader. I will never forget the many things I learned from working with him.
He and his loved ones are in my and my family’s thoughts and prayers.
— Jerry Kurtz, P.E.
Principal project manager,
* * *
Respect, integrity and leadership are the words that pop into my head with I think of Jim Mudd. He was demanding (in a very good way) of his staff, requesting them to “think outside the box.”
He has never micromanaged, rather just guided and provided direction, fostering the leadership capabilities of his staff. He loved to roll up his sleeves and dive into any problem that came his way.
I think the most important aspect of his great leadership was that he inspired confidence in his staff, stood beside them and then behind them when the time was right.
I loved hearing his “war stories” when there was a few minutes to take a break and have a laugh — which was usually well after normal office hours.
The man had more energy than anyone I’ve ever met and a larger vocabulary than Webster’s Dictionary — believe me, I know where the spell-check function is on all programs! His vision of the county as a whole was remarkable, and I hope that the groundwork he has laid will be perpetual.
— Sherry Pryor
Senior budget analyst
* * *
Jim Mudd is an inspiring Collier County leader and a true professional. I cherish these years of working with Jim and his support of tourism.
— Jack W. Wert
Convention & Visitors Bureau
* * *
I have maintained my employment with Collier County government in large part due to Jim Mudd’s leadership and vision. He has been solely responsible for the turnaround from a typical political structure to one that functions more closely in line with a true business as it should, thus saving the county and its citizens millions each year.
His honor, integrity and commitment to this organization are an inspiration, and all leaders, regardless of position or hierarchy, can only strive to emulate him, as none will equal.
— Greg Barlow
* * *
Jim Mudd’s mantra during his tenure as Collier County manager was always his strong commitment toward protecting and improving the health of his employees. He was often quoted: “Healthy employees are more productive, energetic and can better meet their personal goals by achieving an optimum work/life balance.”
Jim viewed us as his most important asset to the organization. He “walked the talk” of wellness and offered us an opportunity to improve our health through a variety of cost-effective wellness programs.
Jim daily showed us to persevere and maintain a positive attitude regardless of challenging personal times.
I and many others will miss him!
— Karen Eastman
Wellness programs manager
* * *
I have had the good fortune to work with Jim Mudd for some 10 years.
What is most impressive is Jim’s quiet leadership. When he speaks, I always listen closely, because I have learned that there is wisdom and value in his words. In fact, I have learned a great deal from Jim about leadership.
I am sure that throughout his life, whether as a military officer or in civilian life, he has been an inspiration to thousands. He motivates others to do their very best by leading with genuine humility and a sense of humor.
He never seeks personal recognition or blows his own horn. He quietly and consistently takes action and leads the charge.
Thank you, Jim. You are indeed a hero!
— Bob Mulhere
Senior vice president, RWA Inc.
* * *
Intelligent. Intellectual. Thoughtful. Curious. Encouraging. Honest. Loyal. Ethical. Intense. Kind. Conversant. Caring. Creative. Resourceful. Engaging. Resilient. Tenacious. Jovial. Fair. Insightful. Persistent. Insistent. Moral. Learned.
Compassionate. Selfless. High-caliber. High-energy. Passionate. Detailed. Devoted. Respectful. Strategic.
I have been fortunate in my career to have had the opportunity to work with and for a few exceptional individuals. County Manager Jim Mudd tops the list.
Mudd is the personification of John Maxwell’s Level 5 Leader.
— Margie Hapke
Operations analyst/public information coordinator,
Collier County Public Utilities Division
* * *
It has been both an honor and a pleasure to work with Jim Mudd.
Years from now, when I reflect back on my career, I suspect that I will have forgotten most of the hundreds of people I have worked with. I will never forget Jim.
Jim is the finest executive I have worked with, as well as one of the finest souls I have ever been around. Until I met Jim, my role model in life was my father. I now have two.
Jim, just know that we are all praying that you beat this thing so you can come back where you are needed and where you belong.
May God bless you, Jim.
— Jeffrey A. Klatzkow
* * *
Jim Mudd is a man of his word. I’ll never forget when I first met him personally at a social event a few weeks after Hurricane Wilma.
I mentioned my frustration about the lack of responsiveness of local companies to give me estimates to replace our destroyed pool cage. He told me that he would be happy to help me. “Just call me Monday morning at my office and I will give you the names of a few companies that are willing to help,” he said.
I did call him, but he was in meetings all day, his secretary said. Oh well, I thought, here go the promises.
But that very same evening I received a call from Jim, apologizing for being away from the office when I called, and gave me the name of three companies just as he had promised.
A man of his word! That says it all.
Yes, the contact names proved invaluable and our pool cage was replaced by a new one two months later.
Enjoy your family now, Jim. Our prayers will continue to be with you.
— Wolfgang Schulz
* * *
Jim Mudd led by example, exhibiting an unrivaled work ethic.
But the greatness of a man can be best measured by his willingness to help others grow. Jim eagerly shared his unrivaled knowledge and skills with those willing to go to the next level.
Jim was a mentor to staff and even to commissioners. He truly understood that teaching one to fish was more important than offering a handout.
He has established a standard second to none.
— Gary Eidson
Fort Myers (formerly of Collier County)
* * *
Jim, each of us is given but a bit of time here on Earth; you have used yours to honor your family, your country and your county these last years. You have made me proud and happy to know you, for I learned early on that your interest was solely in making our place the best it could be.
Each of us lives to learn and to give what we can to make life better for ourselves and for others. You have given wholly of yourself and we are all so much the better for it.
As you travel this last road, your faith and your family will make the journey one filled with hope and promise.
May God smile upon you.
— Bob Murray
* * *
Thank you, Jim Mudd.
Because of you and the leadership and integrity you brought to Collier County as county manager, our quality of life is better. Coming to work felt good knowing we were working towards ethical goals, and at the end of your tenure as county manager, you showed us how to handle adversity with class and courage.
I also thank you for what you gave up so we could have more.
God bless you and your family with the challenges you face. May you have the strength and continued courage to fight for the quality of life you so richly deserve.
With great admiration and respect,
— Mary Beck
Collier County Government
* * *
I have had the opportunity to work with Jim Mudd since early in his tenure.
In all sincerity, he has been a joy to work with. Honest, open, direct. I always knew where he stood as relates to my issues. He would help and advise when he could. If he could not, he told me so.
In short, he is a strong leader, efficient manager and, simply put, a good man.
Collier County is a better place because he is here.
— Jim Burke
Commissioner, North Naples Fire & Rescue District
* * *
First, I must say that County Manager Jim Mudd’s personal performance in the past six months has been both extraordinary and exemplary. Nowhere in my past professional life or in public service have I seen the level of integrity, dedication and selflessness that he has displayed.
His courage in the face of major personal adversity and his continuing demonstrated concern for the people of Collier County and the county employees who serve them are matchless.
Facing a diagnosis and symptoms that would have caused most people to step down immediately, he put his personal considerations aside. He has continued to find a way to report to work, neglecting none of his duties, while displaying the daily leadership desperately needed to get this county through a very challenging and difficult financial time.
He has met both the personal and professional challenges head-on and without flinching, keeping his sense of humor intact. I commend him for this and express my appreciation and the appreciation of my constituents for his farsightedness, intelligence, dedication and strength.
He gives real-time meaning to “Army Strong.” He is a model for us all.
— Frank Halas
Collier County Commissioner, District 2
* * *
As an employee of the county, one of my responsibilities is to take photos at the monthly ceremony recognizing the service of county workers.
At the beginning of each ceremony Jim talks to the employees about their “work in the trenches” and how they make his job easier, how hard they work and how much he appreciates each and every one of them. He gives specific examples of how employees have assisted folks in the community.
He is generous in his praise for all that they do for the county. He thanks them for jobs well done — and he means it. When he talks to them, it isn’t scripted, it is from his heart — it is genuine.
For me, it has been a lesson in leadership, dignity and grace.
— Lavah Hetzel
Communication and Customer Relations