NEW PORT RICHEY — Susan Dillinger was dutifully trudging upstairs at New Port Richey Public Library to help fix a problem with a projector for the free Friday night movie — or so she thought.
“Surprise!” shouted dozens of city officials and library co-workers as they pulled the wool over her eyes with a surprise party Friday afternoon.
Dillinger has pulled double duty the past year and a half as both library director and the interim city manager, so city workers wanted to honor her diligence and sheer stamina.
Taken off guard, Dillinger had to wipe away a tear or two.
“I was genuinely surprised, most definitely,” Dillinger said. Dillinger hugged many friends and co-workers. They included Mayor Rob Marlowe, former Mayor Bob Consalvo, City Councilmen Jeff Starkey and Bill Phillips, Development Director Lisa Fierce, City Clerk Doreen Summers and Finance Director Peter Altman.
Well-wishers presented a plaque to Dillinger that will rechristen the art exhibition space in City Hall as the Susan Dillinger Art Gallery. She also got a large bouquet of Confetti Hawaiian Summer flowers. A cake read, “Thank You, Susan.” Several cards and small gifts were part of the festivities.
The city hired Debbie Manns to become the next city manager. With contract negotiations going smoothly, Dillinger said, she expects Manns can start her new duties June 2.