What does city/county management mean to you?
County management is the ability to pull together multiple agencies with different missions to ultimately serve our citizens. County government is about customer service and meeting the needs while maintaining integrity and transparency. County government is different than city government by the fact that it is comprised of appointed department heads and elected officials. No two counties are alike. Furthermore, the County is responsible for serving multiple other levels of government and citizens including cities, townships, school districts and special districts such as fire boards, watersheds and rural water. No single method of leadership can be used to cover all of those. Each must be dealt with in a manner that fits the needs of those specific factions.
What does a successful improvement or project look like?
An improvement or project, no matter how big or small, is still done at the expense of the taxpayers and their hard-earned money. Community collaboration is important, but as we all know, nothing in government makes everyone happy or satisfied. If a project or improvement needs to be done, then it means an issue or deficiency has been discovered that needs to be addressed. A solution should be looked at from multiple angles and then determine the best method based on need, cost, and overall effectiveness.
What is one improvement (operational, policy or physical) that you are most proud of?
I believe I have had several successes, but none completed without a team of talented county employees. Many times, civil servants are underappreciated. I have been able to improve operational practices by creating a maintenance and environmental team. Prior to the creation, much of this work was outsourced and came at an increased down time and expense. With this team, I have been able to address a lot of issues and use their talent as resources to support every agency.
If you could share one piece of career related wisdom to a colleague, what would it be?
There is always someone out there smarter than me, has better ideas than me, would do it differently than me, and doesn’t mind telling me that. I do the best I can with the information made available to me at the time. Making mistakes is not considered a failure - it is considered an opportunity to learn and grow. When dealing with the public – always, always, always tell the truth and never lie. The truth may not be what people want to hear, but in my experience, they’ll respect you for being honest.