Management in Action: Cody R. Sims, Assistant City Manager for the City of Augusta

What does city/county management mean to you?

City Management is a profound opportunity to be hands-on in the delivery of democracy to the citizens at the local level. With so much discord constantly rippling through higher levels of government, City Management provides a way to work with elected officials and citizens on the formulation and implementation of policy that affects quality of life and livability of the community. After having spent the first 12 years of my professional life in the private sector working in aerospace engineering, I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to serve my organization and community through the city management role each and every day.

What does a successful improvement or project look like?

A successful improvement or project can be characterized in a couple of different ways, depending on the lens in which the improvement is evaluated. The first is an improvement that fills a void in the community, improves quality of life and livability for the citizens, and/or improves reliability of public services. However, as budget constraints continue to evolve, I believe a successful improvement is also one that evaluates how work is accomplished, eliminates non-value added waste, and delivers public services with greater efficiency and at lower cost. I am confident as time progresses, efficiency initiatives such as Lean Six Sigma will become more essential to municipal operations to ensure the greatest value is being delivered to the taxpayer.

What is one improvement (operational, policy or physical) that you are most proud of?

One improvement that I am most proud of is the Augusta Municipal Airport Master Plan / Airport Layout Plan that was recently completed in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and the City’s planning consultant, Garver. This was a three (3) year project to develop a plan for the growth and development of Augusta Municipal Airport over the next 15-20 years, and centers around the reconstruction of Runway 18-36. While the planning process took three years to complete, discussions with the FAA pertaining to runway reconstruction have been ongoing for the past 10+ years. Redevelopment of the runway is expected to have a positive impact on economic development efforts as the Augusta Municipal Airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the state.

If you could share one piece of career related wisdom to a colleague, what would it be?

Do not settle for doing things the way they have always been done. Challenge the status quo and always be curious. The change our communities are constantly subjected to requires city management processionals continually learn and identify new and more efficient ways to move forward. While recently completing a professional development certification, it was shared with my class that our society will experience more technological change in the next 10 years than we have over the past 150 years. This is incredible, especially when considering the evolution of society over the past 150 years, and how that has shaped who we are today. Think of how much our world has changed since the smart phone was first introduced in 2007. While change can be perceived to be good and bad, depending on the circumstance and the lens in which it is evaluated, change is constant and oftentimes requires proactive management to be effective.

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