How long have you been a FCCMA member and why did you join?
I have been a member since 1980. I wanted to be involved in a member driven organization of professionals. I have found that our association has strong ethical values, something that means so much to me. I wanted to be part of the training opportunities, as I can learn so much from my colleagues in the profession while sharing some of my knowledge with other members.
Are you an ICMA member, why did you join, and how long have you been a member?
Yes, I have been a member of ICMA since 1981. Like FCCMA, the ICMA has a strong ethical commitment to the members and the profession. Joining the ICMA maintained my commitment to training and ethics, while affording me an opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the world.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I have an Associates of Science Degree in Forest Technology, a Bachelor of Public Administration Degree, and a Master of Public Administration Degree.
Why did you select a career in public service?
As a young person I was involved in the Boy Scouts of America and excelled in the various Citizenship Merit Badges that spurred my interest in public service and local government.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
No, I had a brief period in the private sector in the 1970’s in forestry and land surveying which utilized the skills from my AS Degree.
Please tell us about your current position and give a brief job description if you are not a City Administrator/Manager. I
For nearly five years I have served as the City Manager for the City of Indian Harbour Beach in Brevard County, on Florida’s Space Coast. In the nearly forty years of local government here in Brevard County, where I grew up, I have managed three municipalities: West Melbourne, population approx. 12,000 and 100 employees; Titusville, population approx. 44,000 and over 500 employees; and Indian Harbour Beach population approx. 8,500 and 54 employees. Each of the communities I have managed have had separate and distinct opportunities and I value each of these experiences.
Indian Harbour Beach is a coastal community between the Intercostal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. We are a full service community with an $8.9M operating budget with no debt service.
Please describe your typical day.
I will walk various streets in the community early in the morning, not only as a benefit for my health, but to help be the eyes and ears of the community and strategize my day. I have also been known to send e-mails in the early mornings and have received comments from individuals about the time the e-mail is sent.
Being a small community I engage with my Executive Leadership Team on a myriad of issues ranging from the community’s finances to short-term or long-term planning. I will meet with elected officials to brief them on current issues and projects, prepare various staff reports/agenda items/ordinances and resolutions, and I act as the Grants Coordinator, Planning Director, and Human Resource Manager for the community. I am out in the community, interacting with employees and citizens.
Currently the health of the Indian River Lagoon is the community’s number one priority and I am actively involved in project to help restore this precious resource and obtaining funding for these projects.
Due to the staffing levels I serve as the city’s Public Relations point person, often providing information for the city’s website and social media sites.
A huge part of my day deals with interaction with the employees and citizens, whether in person or through electronic mail. I will always find time to meet with people, but I realize that this impacts my tasks for the day and therefore, I utilize the time period after the closure of City Hall to catch up.
What is your favorite part of the job?
There are many things I enjoy about being a local government manager, including the interaction with people. I also enjoy bringing a concept, project or program to reality, especially an item that is quite challenging and is a long time in the making.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
The least favorite, but necessary part of my job, pertains to making employment-related decisions that impact the lives of team members and their families.
If you are involved in any volunteer or leadership activities in your community, please share with us a bit about what you do and why it is important to you.
As mentioned earlier, I am involved in the Boy Scouts of America. I had the privilege of pining the same Eagle Scout badge on my son, that my father pinned on me, that my father earned. The honesty, integrity, and leadership skills that I learned as youth have shaped my ethics that are so important to me. I am still involved today in a program that I believe in and a program that gave so much to me, in hopes that I can help the next generation of leaders.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
With more than forty years in local government I have had many memorable experiences. It is hard to single out one. Whether it is seeing team members under you becoming managers in other jurisdictions (two so far) or having projects becoming a reality, they all bring about great memories.
One particular experience I will highlight occurred in Titusville. We had a double whammy with the burst of the housing bubble and the end of the Space Shuttle program. The housing market and job market collapsed, and even CBS’s show “60 Minutes” did a story of the downfall on the city comparing it to a “Ghost Town.” Working with our County Commissioner we began the Renaissance of the community and developed the North Brevard Economic Development Zone, a Special Dependent District to provide funding for job growth and economic development. Successful projects include Blue Origin, Embraer, Titus Landings, and Eckler, just to name a few. The projects brought high paying wages and helped create a strong housing market in the community that was hit so hard by these economic factors.
What are your hobbies/interests?
With a Scouting background I enjoy the outdoors, canoeing and kayaking, and hiking in the woods.
Other than my family, my other love is baseball and the hobby of collecting autographs. During spring training, I will go to games throughout the state to watch games and try to obtain autographs of past and present players, as well as future stars.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
I constantly stress ethics. Even though something may okay legally, how would that item play out in the local newspaper. My honesty and integrity means more to me than my paycheck and I would offer this as my advice to public service employees.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other aspiring public administrators?
My mentor was my father. As a Scouter and a father, he helped instill in me my values and my ethics that are so important to me today. I try to live by those values and share those principles with others in local government.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
I would probably have tried to work as a Forest Ranger with the US Forest Service, especially with my Scouting background.
Do you have a story you can share about how being a member of FCCMA has helped you or impacted you in a positive way?
In my career I have always been involved in the legislative process in Tallahassee and lately I have served as the Chairperson of the FCCMA Legislative Committee. My involvement has helped provide membership of our association with important information on legislation and allowed me to champion various issues before the Florida Legislature. I have gotten to know some of the members of the Legislature in other parts of the state and that has helped with legislative initiatives. I remember one instance walking into a Committee Meeting in Tallahassee and a legislator from another district announced to the crowd: “Titusville is here.” That was rewarding to know that I had fostered that relationship with a legislator from a district more than a hundred miles from my community.