After 27 years, Ballard still enjoys coming to work

Matt Algarin
Larry Ballard has worked at the city of Destin since 1987. He is the longest tenured city employee.

What’s in a number? History, time, finances?

Well, for Larry Ballard, the city of Destin’s deputy building official, it’s a combination of the three, as he is currently the city’s longest tenured employee. Ballard was hired by the city in 1987, just three years after incorporation, and holds employee number 119.

A lot has changed in the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” since Ballard joined “Team Destin.” City Hall has changed locations, countless roads were paved, developments built and razed, and a harbor boardwalk was built.

“It’s hard to believe it has been over 27 years since I began working for the city,” Ballard said. “I still enjoy coming to work every day, which says a lot about the people I work with.”

“The support of the contractors, citizens, design professionals and city staff (Team Destin) make working in the building division an enjoyable job,” he added.

In addition to Ballard, the city also has a handful of other employees that have surpassed the 20-year mark, including Pam Boggs, accountant; David Bazylak, environmental and code enforcement manager; Kelly Gates, code enforcement officer; Dean Holland, parks maintenance technician; Susan Destin, permit/license administrator; and Lindey Chabot, grants and projects manager.

Looking back through city records, Chuck Garcia, HR manager for the city of Destin, told The Log that City Manger Jack Dorman was the city’s first paid employee. Dorman began his service to the city in April of 1985 and served until June of 1989, Garcia said.

Executive Secretary Ingrid Kreis and William “Jackie” Fortner, who worked in planning and zoning, rounded out the city’s first three employees. When the city began issuing employee numbers to its staffers, they more than likely began in the 100s, but Garcia said he wasn’t able to confirm where the numbers began.

Nowadays, the city is well into the 600s with its employee numbers.

“We really don’t have a lot of turnover here,” Garcia told The Log.