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Robert (Bob) Martinez - 54th Mayor Of Tampa

Image of Mayor of Tampa

Born: December 25, 1934

Term: October 1, 1979 - July 16, 1986 (Resigned)

Born in Tampa, Florida, Bob Martinez was the son of Serafin Martinez and Ida Carreno Martinez. He attended Hillsborough County Public Schools graduating from Jefferson High in 1953. Martinez received his B.S. in Social Science from the University of Tampa in 1953 and completed his Masters in Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois in 1964. After graduation, Bob Martinez returned to Tampa and became a management consultant advising businesses on labor relations. He also taught Economics at the University of Tampa in the summer of 1965 and became Executive Director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association from 1966-1975. As executive director, he negotiated the first union contract for Hillsborough County teachers. In 1974, Martinez campaigned for mayor but lost the election to William Poe. He ran for mayor again in 1979 and, this time, won the election.

Under Martinez's administration Tampa's water and sewer treatment plants were modified, new sewer lines installed, and improvements made in the city's drainage systems. There was also significant renovation to downtown Tampa with the construction of new office buildings and high-rise residential apartments. With this construction came stricter enforcement of building codes. In addition, Martinez helped to greatly increase the number of conventions brought to the city and encouraged the construction of hotels.

Martinez reduced the size of the city government without substantially decreasing city services, with the exception of the police department where there has been an increase of manpower. He reduced the millage rate two years in a row and pushed revitalization of areas of deterioration such as Sulphur Springs and West Tampa. In regard to historic preservation, Martinez ordered $529,000 to be set aside for the reconstruction of Tampa's historic red brick streets.

Mayor Martinez was elected to the board of directors of the National League of Cities. He is the first Tampa official ever elected to the National Policy Making Board. Governor Rubin Askew also appointed Martinez as vice chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Martinez married Mary Jane Marino and the couple have two children.

Sources for this Biographical Sketch:

Covington, Dr. James W. and Wavering, Debbie Lee, "The Mayors of Tampa: A Brief Administrative History," Tampa, FL: University of Tampa, 1987.

Tampa Council Minutes, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL