How long have you been a FCCMA member?
Are you an ICMA member and if so, how long?
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
Political Science and MPA – University of Tennessee
What got you interested in public service?
My father was a journalist and political activist, seeking or holding office throughout my childhood. Since I can remember, I was attending political rallies. By 18, I served as a precinct chair in my hometown of Knoxville, TN and worked in local/state campaigns throughout my college years. Growing up with candidates and office holders at our home provided me with an early introduction to politics and comfort around elected officials.
What is your current occupation?
Please give a brief job description.
Our City’s Charter affords the manager all the duties and responsibilities of overseeing the operations of the corporation without interference. Included in these duties is preparing the budget, recruiting and terminating employees, administration of capital projects and utilities.
Please describe your typical day.
Most of the days involve meeting the public over zoning or code enforcement, personnel issues, policy research, contract(s) administration, and council inquiries.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Working with a great bunch of employees and council members.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
Union negotiations & terminations
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
While managing a resort city in another state, we were successful in convincing the legislature to create a “Premiere Resort City” classification for distributing sales tax revenue. If a city qualified under this new classification, the law required all sales taxes be redistributed based upon the percentage generated, rather than a per capita formula. To qualify as a Premiere Resort City, 80% of sales tax collected would need to be related to tourist expenditures and the City would need to own a ski slope. As a result of the change in the statute, the city tripled its state sales tax revenue.
What are hobbies/interests?
Diving, fishing and hunting
If you could give one piece of advice to young people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
Know your elected officials ideologies and their support base. Avoid politics at all costs. Don’t attempt to cover mistakes and always be honest with your council. Finally, remember that your formal education only teaches the way government should operate. It doesn’t teach you to be an ethical, flexible manager.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other young public administrators?
Straight from graduation I was hired as an assistant under a tenured manager that required me to work in every city department for at least three months intervals and report to him twice weekly. In addition, he had me accompany him at every meeting. The City Attorney worked closely with me toward an orientation of municipal law and helping me develop a relationship with our state representatives. Within two years, I had prepared a budget, written a personnel policy manual, bid and administrated capital projects, extended miles of sewer/water lines and testified before a state legislative committee.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
All through college, I worked as a laborer for a large roofing contractor. In 1990 I obtained my Coast Guard’s Captain’s license and operated a charter fishing and diver business. While I owned the vessel and business, I retained other captains to operate the business during the week days. I sold the business after 20 years.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
Twice I sat for the LSAT and was admitted to law school both times. I’d probably like to earn my jurisprudence degree.