How long have you been a FCCMA member?
I have been a member of FCCMA since 2012. I currently serve as the Vice Chair of the Professional Management Matters Committee (PMMC), and fortunate to work under the leadership of FCCMA President, Michael Cernech, and PMMC Chair Matt Spoor, to promote the merits of local professional management. Previously, I held a seat on the Manager-In-Transition (MIT) Committee, which strives to provide resources and tools for FCCMA members who are in between job appointments.
Are you an ICMA member and if so, how long?
My membership with ICMA dates back to 2015. I presently serve on the International Committee and Welcome Ambassador Committee. Thanks to the generous support of Town Manager Bud Bentley, I’m also enrolled in the Mid-Career Management Institute (MCMI), and City Manager John Titkanich is my MCMI mentor.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I concentrated on business administration in community college and at the university. I possess a Master’s in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University, Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, and an Associate’s degree from Miami-Dade (Community) College-North Campus. My goal is to graduate from the ICMA MCMI next year, and receive a scholarship to obtain an Executive Certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What got you interested in public service?
I fell in love with public service the first day on the job in May 1995. I credit Victor Biggs for giving me an opportunity to work in government in the Code Compliance Division when no one would give me a chance. 23-years later, I’m passionate about the efforts we take to build stronger and sustainable communities.
What is your current occupation?
I am the Assistant Town Manager in a community that can only be described as paradise – the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.
Please give a brief job description.
I assist the Town Manager in administration of Town operations and activities. My areas of responsibility include management of the Parking and Solid Waste/Recycling operations, oversight of the Department of Development Services, auditing contract compliance and performance, and coordination of special projects and community initiatives.
Please describe your typical day.
What makes any day in government typical is the energy and enthusiasm that I bring to work each day because I’ve grown to expect the unexpected at the office.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I believe that public service is truly about serving the public and not our own personal interests, which is the reason I am neighbor-centric and love helping people. I take great pride and joy in walking our constituents through a process, handholding them to resolve an issue, and making improvements that enhance their experience when conducting business with the organization.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
I, like many of professional managers, have a multitude of assignments to complete and tend to sacrifice the time that should be spent with my loved ones, and on my personal well-being, to get things done at the office. In doing so, I don’t give them, or myself, the same level of attention and energy because I am physically drained and mentally occupied with the pressures of the work life. I now make more of an effort to adhere to my personal motto: work hard, play harder.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
The most memorable work experiences are related to helping employees obtain the essential resources and improving employee morale. As the old adage goes “employees don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.” When we take care of our employees, they will go above and beyond the call of duty without hesitation.
What are hobbies/interests?
My spiritual growth and my family are top priorities. I have a myriad of other interests such as kickboxing, acting, Autism fundraising, traveling abroad, and attempting to play golf. I love listening and dancing to music the most.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
Public service is a challenging and fulfilling profession. Your passion for public service will power your growth on the job and equally important build your professional network that will open doors to advancement. Your network is your net worth, so never cease networking.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other young public administrators?
God has blessed me throughout my career with many exceptional individuals in my personal and professional life. My Trinidadian parents laid the foundation for a healthy spiritual life, solid value system, and strong work ethic. Assistant County Administrator Alan Cohen has been influential in my career. I also emulate remarkable (former) bosses, and have been fortunate to form friendships and counsel with dynamic leaders at the local, state and federal level, as well as in the private sector.
I emphasize to the young administrators to seek out mentors and to model themselves after ethical individuals that exhibit the right mix of leadership, integrity, knowledge, business acumen, and interpersonal skills. On occasion, I encourage them to contact me as a resource, introduce them when appropriate to my mentors, and help them make connections to build their own network.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
My private sector experience is diverse. I worked in banking and media. I also owned a non-profit organization called Generation Debt Free and educated teenagers about basic money management skills. This experience resulted in interviews on the local television news networks, and collaboration with NBA Hall of famer James Worthy. Due to the demands of my public service career, I had to outsource the management of my retail company that is still in operation.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
I would become a Foreign Service Officer with the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.