How long have you been a FCCMA member and why did you join?
I joined FCCMA in 2013. It followed my first appointment as acting manager. I wanted to be part of, and contribute to, an organization that supported manager’s professional development and promoted the council/commission-manager form of government.
Are you an ICMA member, why did you join, and how long have you been a member?
Yes, I first joined ICMA in 2016.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. I continued professional development with certifications from Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management in Executive Leadership and Villanova University in Project Management.
Why did you select a career in public service?
My start in public service began as a meter reader for the Town of Jupiter in 1991. Public service was initially a job and later developed into a career. I found the work challenging and engagement with customers and residents rewarding. The more involved I became in the interworking of local government the more it became a part of me. I feel privileged to work in local government and to witness the civic good local decisions make in communities.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
Except for a brief period prior to starting work in public service, I have worked in local government for 28 years, serving the Town of Jupiter, City of West Palm Beach, Village of North Palm Beach, Marion County and the City of Atlantis.
Please tell us about your current position and give a brief job description if you are not a City Administrator/Manager.
I presently serve as the City Manager for the City of Atlantis. I was appointed the City Manager in March 2018. Immediately prior to joining the City of Atlantis, I served as Assistant County Administrator for Marion County, Florida. The City is a vibrant full-service community that enjoys the comfort of small-town upscale living with convenient access to the amenities of the larger metropolitan area.
Please describe your typical day.
I’m not certain there is a typical day as a manager in local government. That is an aspect of the job that I appreciate, no boredom. Our community has high expectations for service delivery and that necessitates being engaged with residents. We maintain our own police department, contract with a neighboring city for fire rescue services, and operate a utility, providing water and sanitary service. The city is compact with a full-time resident population of 2,100. It’s a normal day to see me touring the city or headed to a resident’s home on the city golf cart. Serving a small city allows me that level of personal engagement that time just does not afford many managers.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of serving as a manager, is the engagement with residents and witnessing the positive impact that local government has on the community. I really appreciate encounters with residents that have prepared themselves for being told ‘No’ and I shock them with ‘Yes, we can make that happen’.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
Time! There’s never enough time. The urgent, but important, surprises of the day can be very challenging. You start the day with a top ten list of things you want to accomplish but end the day with only three scratched off. The surprises you dealt with were important but draining on the precious amount of time.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
Perhaps when I retire, I will be able to reflect on a single experience as being the most memorable. I share many memorable experiences from the local governments I have served and hope to make many more. Those memorable experiences are what keeps me coming back and a significant part of why I find local government so rewarding.
What are your hobbies/interests?
Admittedly, I’m a gamer. Games of choice are Call of Duty and Madden NFL. I really hope they bring back NCAA Football. I enjoy family trips to local festivals and events across Florida. When the schedule allows, I spend time saltwater fishing and golf.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
My advice is don’t try to do it alone. Make an effort early in your career to network, meet peers, and build relationships. It will be a great resource in your development.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other aspiring public administrators?
I have been fortunate to have worked for, and been mentored by, several very accomplished managers during my career. However, my best mentor did not work in local government – he was a teacher. John Ciliento was a teacher I had for four years in high school. He was best known as Mr. ‘C ‘and to this day I’m still uncomfortable calling him John. He was, and is, a unique individual with a gift for bringing the best out of people.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
Head Coach of a Power 5 college football program. Not that I’m qualified…. I find the planning, recruiting, strategy, execution, and teamwork required to compete at the top level of college football to be amazing.
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?
I have found membership in the FCCMA to be very impactful. I look forward to local events and the annual conference. The professional development opportunities have paid benefits in learning how other managers have dealt with situations or emerging trends in government. I appreciate the networking opportunities and the professional relationships that have developed.