How long have you been a FCCMA member and why did you join?
Becoming an FCCMA member at the beginning of my career as a city manager was pivotal, to the enhancement of my knowledge as a professional public servant. I joined eight years ago seeking council and collaboration in matters that affected local government, knowing that the focus of the organization was on education and advocacy.
Why did you select a career in public service?
Selecting a career in public service was not a straightforward path for me. Following a very successful management career in the private sector, friends and family encouraged and supported me to explore a path towards public service. In my mind, public service chose me, through the support of my community who allowed me to take a position, representing them as a county commissioner first, and later in the transition to municipal government as their city manager.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Managing a small city requires the successful orchestration of many moving parts and the expertise to combine knowledge with hands on experience, to achieve the fulfillment of a job well done. However, for me, the day-to-day satisfaction comes from the interaction with people, being team members or citizens. The needs of the people are my number one priority, and taking care of the mentorship of city team members to help develop public servants that are more knowledgeable remains my number priority. Fostering citizen-staff relationships that promote a warm and caring interaction between municipal government and the citizens we serve, makes the city feel more like a family, where everyone is heard and appreciated.
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.
Continuing with my thoughts that the interaction between people are an important part of life, then volunteering our time and efforts is an important aspect in giving back to the community we serve, making it a better place for everyone. Community service has always been ingrained in my day-to-day life, from belonging to and serving in leadership roles for civic organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, to non-profit boards like Florida Federation of Fairs, Advent Health Heartland, South Florida State College Foundation, Hardee Education Foundation, Hardee County Economic Development Authority to name a few. Caring for our community through volunteer efforts is fostered with our city team members as well, by allocation of funds for membership fees and associated costs while ensuring they have the available time to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
My day-to-day life as the city manager has created many memories of satisfaction and disappointment throughout the years. But, none as full of elation as the moment I realized that in the short time I have been city manager, nine of our team members, through my support and encouragement along with the availability of our tuition reimbursement program have obtained college degrees. These degrees enhance their quality of life, as well as, the professional environment at our office. The thought that, through my leadership, nine people have been able to change the course of their lives is humbling, and deeply satisfying, making me extremely proud every time I think about it.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
Career politicians help us to decide the path we are heading, but it is up to the career public servant to carve out the road that will get us there. A career in public service should be considered as an honor for any professional. They as professionals are the difference, between the political promises and the actuality of a successful government tangible to the people. My advice to these professionals, do not be afraid to commit to a life of public service, as this will be the most rewarding adventure of your life.