KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Scott Kornegay woke up at 5:30 a.m. last Monday, just he did every morning in the past four-and-a-half years as the City Manager of Keystone Heights.
But unlike the past few years, he wasn’t facing a busy schedule. Other than meandering around his property in the afternoon, his itinerary was open.
For the first time since sixth grade, Kornegay didn’t have to report to a job. And a few days into his retirement, he already was getting fidgety.
“It was nice to know I didn’t have to be anywhere,” Kornegay said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I’m a little antsy. I’m 57 years old and I have a lot to contribute. It’s been strange.”
Kornegay left his post on May 29. But he insists he’s not going far.
“It was the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m not going to disappear. I will resurface somewhere fairly quickly – more quickly than some people would care for me to. It won’t be in a high-stress profile position like the city manager job.”
Kornegay spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force and 24 years with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue before turning his unbridled energy to Keystone Heights. And like everything else in his life, he did it with endless enthusiasm.
“I had seen enough and I was ready to take the opportunity in Keystone Heights,” he said. “It’s been four-and-a-half years, and they’ve been four-and-a-half of the best years of my life.”
Kornegay said he’s proud of the legacy he created since his appointment in 2016, including: helping land funding from the Florida Department of Transportation to repave State Road 21, improving sidewalks, street lights and landscaping; working with Clay Electric to move some of its utilities underground; creating a water summit to address the levels of lakes Brooklyn and Geneva that led to the $41 million Black Creek Water Resource Development Project; refurbish city hall; revitalized a lazy asset at Sunrise park; completed a trailhead for cyclists and walkers after buying land on through the State of Florida along the Palatka-Lake Butler Rails to Trails; upgraded security systems at town facilities; negotiated with North Florida TPO to build an Electric Vehicle Charging Station; and, worked to get $1 million from the state to replace concrete strain poles with high tech hurricane-ready mast arm signals at State Road 21 and State Road 100 and SR 100 at Commercial Circle.
“We did some amazing things in the last four-and-a-half years,” Kornegay said.
City clerk Lynn Rutkowski was hired to replace Kornegay during the city council’s meeting on June 1. Kornegay said he not only supported the appointment; it played an important role in his decision to retire.
“I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t believe Lynn would do a good job,” he said.
Kornegay said he’s trying to settle into a new life of leisurely walks and reruns.
“With my personality and being people-oriented and relationship-oriented and being a facilitator, there’s no way I can be out there contributing,” he said. “I spent my entire life in public service.
“My daddy and granddaddy owned a service station in Dothan, Alabama. The summer after sixth grade, I started working 50-60 hours a week – and I haven’t stopped. I’ve got a long record of hard work for a lot of years. Good to take a break.”