WHAT SKILLS SHOULD AN EFFECTIVE TOWN MANAGER POSSESS
In compiling this list, which applies to businesses as well, it may be realized why White Springs does not find ideal Town Managers. Or, if they find a manager like Bill Lawrence, they blow it.
The council is never wrong and will not allow change or eliminate ineffective people who cost the Town money, except for Helen Miller. The Council micromanages and they will never respect new ideas.
As I was placing my list of qualifications, I realized I probably am listing all of our friend, Tim Day’s, qualifications. The Town really messed up and I am not certain the officials are ready to change White Springs for the better if they HAVE NO GOALS….the fundamental principle is to have a vision and goals and implement them.
- A Town manager must be a leader rather than just a manager
- A Town Manager is someone who will identify a vision and “sell” it to others – the council, staff and the community and move forward.
- The ideal Town Manager should have strong diplomatic skills since he or she will be working for numerous bosses while trying to motivate his or her staff and others around him or her.
- Since it is important for everyone to have a common goal and work toward those common objectives, a Town manager must be skillful in developing a very strong vision that people can support.
- The Town Manager must be able to read a community so that the public may be comfortable with him or her.
- A Town Manager must be able to relate to a community and have good listening skills to feel the pulse of the community. This means being very involved in community events, by engaging in the community and making sure the organization does so as well.
- The Town Manager’s values, his or her personal values and the values of the organization you are leading have to be in line with community values.
- The Town Manager must be at the heart of the Town’s use of funds. The Town Manager is the one who proposes the allocation of resources.
- A Town Manager must become an expert at time management using techniques to reduce interruptions and have ideas for refocusing.
- A Town Manager must know when to ask for help. He or she may use the people around you or ask willing citizens to assist when resources are short. Ask especially people who do something better than you do, tell them what you need and give them the opportunity to step up.
- The Town Manager must separate important issues from the urgent issues.
- The Town Manager must not be afraid to change his or her mind. When more information is received and one realizes that he or she is wrong, not changing one’s mind would be worse.
- The Town Manager fights to make certain the resources are there and take the initiative to reduce local costs
- A Town Manager must keep the entity fiscally strong. If money needs to be borrowed, the Town Manager fills in the gaps between tax receipts and improved bond ratings, keeping interest rates down in short term and long term loans.
- The Town Manager is a professional rather than political appointment, and that good experience in one community can be carried over to the next.
- A Town Manager must be able to identify problems so he or she knows what to do.
- A Town Manager manages results not how one manage the why. If a Town manager has a clear objective of what is wanted, that will work.
- A Town manager must be seen in public, be engaged and involved with the various programs and clubs. The Town manager is the human face to the entity he or she represents.
- The Town Manager’s role is to keep employee morale up at all time and to create a place, an ambiance, where people feel they are contributing.
- The Town Manager must be fair so that you earn the respect of people by setting an example
- A Town Manager cannot rely on one person to do it all. It must be a team effort. If he or she sets an expectation as a “modus operandi” for your immediate staff, he or she will accomplish a team effort.
- A Town Manager must be familiar with the Town Charter, all ordinances and the laws of the State and must follow them.
- It cannot be just a job for a Town Manager. A Town Manager must take ownership and be a stakeholder, not just go to sleep and work for the Town. Love your job every day and change the Community and the world.
- A Town Manager must ask staff what they do and what staff believes is a waste of their time. Question reports that collect data which is never used. In other words the Town Manager eliminates unnecessary work from the workplace.
- A Town Manager must get rid of people who do not share the vision, mission and passion of the entity because they will cost you in the long run. Hire the right people.
- A Town Manager must hire the best and smartest people he or she can find and brainstorm with them to solve problems. Give your staff the tools they need, delegate and allow them to do their job.
- A Town Manager must be an excellent communicator not only being able to go before a large audience but to talk at council meetings
- Again the Town Manager must develop good listening skills. The Town Manager has been hired to listen. When people bring issues to his or her attention, he or she should not start by telling them what to do but rather listen to them. That is a difficult task since we are always under the illusion that we know the answers. A Town Manager must be able to analyze and receive new information.
Karin for the blog
In Stacy Tebo’s cover letter addressed to the City of Orange City, she referenced her time at White Springs as follows:
“Since September of 2015, I have been employed as the town manager for the Town of White Springs in North Florida. I work there during the week and return to Orange City on the weekends. My son is graduating from University High School later this month, so Orange City is still my home. White Springs is a small organization and I wear many hats. I oversee all aspects of town services so the work is never ending. However, I prefer being a city clerk over being a town manager. I’m also quite homesick and would like to return to Orange City full-time. I would love to meet with you and discuss the knowledge and experience I could bring to your organization. I would also appreciate the opportunity to explain the reason for my exit from the City of DeBary”.
It is said that Managers are born and in reviewing what happened at DeBary, one can see where Stacy was FOLLOWING the Assistant Town Manager who lost her job before Stacy was fired, wishing to take down Dan Parrott. If Stacy had stayed in DeBary and had not taken a public records suit and an EEOC suit, she would have been in her element and making over $70,000. She obviously has the talent and experience to be a City Clerk as long as she does not have to lead. And not all of us can be leaders and an employer may say, she would be a great follower, and one who could do their job so any Manager could delegate tasks to Ms. Tebo. but only if she liked that manager.
I know when I was in Management one does not choose a salesperson type or an ENTJ to do clerical work. However, telling a dynamic manager that you are “homesick” might not set well. Lately there has emerged a clearer sense of what homesickness is – a distinct adjustment disorder with identifiable symptoms – and what causes it. Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health stated “You’re not literally just missing your house. You’re missing what’s normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space, because those are the things that help us survive,” . It’s just your emotions and mind telling you you’re out of your element.” And that one misses the security and love of those who have been around them.
This has been Stacy’s problem because she really does not like working for White Springs and really wished her job back with DeBary or a new job in the surrounding area of DeBary, which just isn’t happening. Now DeBary is asking for Summary Judgment and wishing to close the case with no hope of her working for DeBary again because of what she did to aggravate everyone.
Obviously, part of the problem is that Stacy has not been able to delegate or perhaps refuses to delegate any of the menial tasks to Pam Tomlinson who probably could not handle them anyway. Or Stacy feels that her team will not do anything right, so she elects to do everything herself. This obviously places pressure on her so that she may have occasional explosions.
In any event, Stacy Tebo has the skills to be a stellar Town Clerk if she works at it instead of gossiping and causing problems but no matter how she explains her situation at DeBary, it is evident they may consider her to be obsessed with getting her way and making complaints about other managers and councilors. Hopefully she realizes what she did in DeBary and that which she has done in White Springs, was a huge mistake and will come back to her senses in the future. After all, so many are making less money than they did years ago and many under the former Obama administration lost their jobs or only worked part time; thankfully that is changing under the Trump administration. At some point one has to be thankful for what they have and try to work with the people around them.
The point I have for White Springs is to terminate Pam Tomlinson’s position since it is long overdue and make Stacy Tebo a town clerk and bookkeeper.
In the interim, until White Springs can find a part-time Town Manager (we cannot afford a full-time manager), Joe Griffin or someone educated as he is could remain as the interim manager during the transition. If Joe was hired, you would get two for the price of one because I would diligently get things in order with my organizational abilities.
Karin for the blog
It is time, White Springs, to get a grip on how the world is changing and “Where’s the Love”.
Karin for the Blog