Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn announced he will be resigning soon, ending a 15-year term that has seen the tiny but affluent and influential Orlando suburb modernize city services and the police department while also dealing with explosive growth outside the town that has flooded it with traffic.
Bruhn, who also just served a term as president of the Florida League of Mayors, is moving out of the town of about 3,000 residents, to what he called “Winder-near.” He bought a larger house just outside the city limits.
He announced his decision Monday evening in advance of next week’s qualifying period for upcoming town elections, saying he wanted his status settled so there would not be a scramble and expenses for a special election.
Bruhn said he would be leaving office as soon as his current home sells and he moves, or no later than March, when a new mayor is sworn in, if his Windermere house doesn’t sell quickly enough.
“Where I’m moving if I look over the wall I can see the town of Windermere, but it’s one of those situations where it’s outside the town limits,” Bruhn said Tuesday. “I’m looking to get a little bigger home, for when the grandkids come to visit with my son. … So we decided if we’re going to make the move, now’s the time to do it.”
Bruhn has lived in Windermere for 30 years, and spent half of that as the city’s mayor.
During that time, Bruhn dealt with multiple hurricanes, starting with Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004, construction of roundabouts to control traffic in the town center, and a 2011 police scandal that first led the police chief to be arrested and then led to major reforms, with the department now being ranked highly. Meanwhile, southwest Orange County has boomed, surrounding the town and making it a busy crossroads for traffic on the east and west sides of the Butler chain of lakes.
“It’s been a very interesting 15 years, to think of where we were and where we are,” Bruhn said.