Letter to the Editor: Choosing a city manager

The city manager and the city attorney are always selected by the current sitting City Council and serve at the pleasure of the current council. Every two years there is an election that often changes the makeup of the council. This change in makeup can and often does cause the city manager and the city attorney positions to be volatile and unstable in nature.

The resume for a city manager should be relatively simple:

1. Must be professional.

2. Someone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public administration.

3. Extensive knowledge in government finance.

4. Qualified experience should include three-plus years as a city manager; five-plus years as an assistant city manager or more than 10 years as a city department head.

5. It is desirable that the candidate be well experienced in Florida government.

6. The willingness to use communication skills is crucial.

7. Honest.

8. Conscience.

9. Agreeable.

10. A good listener.

11. A consensus builder.

12. A visionary.

13. A diplomat.

Understand that a city manager will have to navigate unsettling political opinions and still satisfy council members with varying opinions, employees with different needs and the residents with a wide range of anticipations.

Mistakes that are made because of a lack of prior qualified experience in city management, lack of experience in government finance, lack of experience in Florida government, lack of willingness to communicate can be and were very expensive.

City Council should be very selective in choosing the next city manager. The compensation package has the salary cost, the benefits package and the exit package.

Wayne Waldack

Marco Island

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