Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award
The Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award was adopted to honor a current or former City of Tampa female employee who demonstrates outstanding commitment to her position and the community. The award is given in memory of Ms. Stafford who devoted 24 years to the City of Tampa as an Assistant City Attorney. She was also the first woman judge in Hillsborough County and was a pioneer for women's issues, both professionally and in the community.
2023 Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award Recipient
Mary Bryan, Legislative Aide for Charlie Miranda, is the 2023 Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award winner. With sixty years of service, she holds the record for being the longest serving City of Tampa employee.
Mary began her unparalleled career with the City of Tampa at the age of 17, following her graduation from high school. Beginning in the office of Urban Renewal in 1962, and remaining there until 1972, Mary had a variety of responsible positions. From 1972 to 1977, Mary continued her work where Urban Renewal left off. In 1977, the office was renamed and reorganized as the Housing and Community Services where Mary continued her career assisting in redevelopment efforts to upgrade and improve infrastructure and basic services.
Mary’s career ranged from responsible positions throughout her tenure. Her talents and hard-working demeanor were easily recognized, and her abilities were often sought after. She was a trusted grants writer in the Revenue and Finance Department under Louis Russo. Quick learning, reliable and tenacious, Mary was elevated to the Legal Department as an Assistant to the City Attorney James Palermo. Mary continued to assist the legal department through 2011. In 2011, she took a 24 hour break and returned as the city council aide to Charlie Miranda where she continues to serve.
Mary has served from 1962 to 2023, under eleven different Mayors of Tampa: Nick Nuccio, Julian B. Lane, Dick Greco (twice), Richard L. Cheney, Lloyd Copeland, William F. Poe, Bob Martinez, Sandy Freedman, Pam Iorio, Bob Buckhorn, and Jane Castor.
Mary has volunteered for many organizations. She has given her support to the Spring of Tampa Bay, the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, United Way of Tampa Bay, the Dress for Success program, the Humane Society, Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire Rescue Beneficent Appeals. She was also involved in the Teens Engaged in Community, Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay, Career Experience Program for the City Attorney’s Office and Mayor Freedman’s Committee on Youth Opportunities and received the Mayor’s Youth Employment Award for Summer Jobs Campaign. She received the Citizen’s Award from Sheriff David Gee of Hillsborough County. For more than twenty years, Mary has also set up the holiday decorations at Old City Hall. She enjoys decorating the trees and adding garlands and wreaths to bring Holiday cheer.
Mary Bryan has tirelessly given of herself for over sixty years. She has been a friend and mentor to countless city elected officials, employees, and citizens.