City Manager interviews set

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By Pat Hibbs

The remaining field of five candidates for the Williston city manager position will be interviewed on Thursday, Oct. 23, in the City Council chambers, beginning at 1 p.m. Each candidate is allocated an hour. The interviews are open to the public.

Three of the eight chosen for personal interviews, Jim Gallagher of Winter Haven, Robert Mearns of Fort Walton Beach, and H. Blake Proctor of Fairmont, N.C., have withdrawn their names from consideration.

Here, in the order in which they will be interviewed, are the candidates. All information has been gleaned from the resumes they submitted.

Joan Boyer, of Cedar Lake, Ind., will be interviewed in a conference call at 1 p.m. If she is chosen as a finalist, she will be invited for a more intensive personal session with council members and the public.

Boyer characterizes herself as an "innovated self-starter" and a consensus builder. She has more than 25 years' experience in municipal government in Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and, most recently in Cedar Lake. For two years in the mid-1980s, she was a Circuit Rider City Manager in western Oklahoma.

Boyer lists among her accomplishments negotiating economic development projects, including two outlet malls and a hotel. She has developed a five-year capital improvement plan, and overseen the design and development of a federally funded streetscape project valued at almost a million dollars.

She declares that she "secured federal and state grant funds for public works projects that exceeded $19 million in one year, resulting in no tax or rate increases." In the utilities area, Boyer says she successfully negotiated long and short-term wholesale electric and gas purchase contracts in three states.

Boyer has a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State Univ., and more than 200 hours of continuing education with the International City County Management Association.

All of the remaining candidates will be interviewed in person.

Jerry Taylor, is coming from Tuttle, Okla., where he is currently city manager, for his 2 p.m. interview.

Taylor has more than 10 years of executive level management experience in local government, after a 20-year career in Information Technology at Raytheon E-Systems in northern Virginia. He managed large staffs and administered budgets of more than $150 million in his career at Raytheon. His duties at Raytheon included engineering operations and maintenance of classified data processing systems, contract negotiation and supervision of technical support personnel for government projects.

Taylor, with a BS in engineering from the University of Texas in 1975, added to his education with a BA in business management in 1991 and an MBA from Averett University in Virginia in 1993.

In municipal government, Taylor was city manager of Hugo, Okla., with a population of 6,000. In that city, he retooled the budget; corrected water and sewer problems to resolve consent orders issued by the Department of Environmental Quality; and secured a grant from the FAA to reconstruct and widen the airport runway.

In a two-year stint in Harrah, Okla., he concentrated on wastewater, parks and the resurfacing of city streets.

In Tuttle, his current position, Taylor has again worked on utilities, streets and recreational facilities. He has negotiated with unions representing firefighters, police and EMS personnel.

He says that he has "proven strengths in increasing productivity, team concepts, strong administrative management and open door policy."

David Kraus, of Lake City, is scheduled for 3 p.m. He most recently served as that city's manager, and is now a private business owner there. He says he's worked in small to medium sized cities for the past 25 years. He advocates a hands-on, community oriented approach that emphasizes customer service.

His stint in Lake City included crafting developer agreements and preparing for grant applications; planning for park expansions; and participating in many committees, including those for downtown neighborhood development and the airport.

Kraus served for eight years as city manager of Mount Holly, N. C., a city in the Gastonia area with a population of nearly 10,000. His utility experience includes water treatment and wastewater treatment. He also served as the finance officer and city clerk.

He negotiated more than 20 voluntary annexations totaling more than 2,000 acres and "oversaw the emergency response for two declared disasters in 2003, including working with FEMA and the state of North Carolina for reimbursement."

Kraus also says he maintained the lowest water and sewer rates in the Charlotte metropolitan area. He was involved in the inception of several community events including an annual Christmas Tree Lighting. He directed the construction of two new parks and acquired more than 250 acres for future parks.

Kraus managed the city of Lowell, N.C., for two years from 1996-1998, where he oversaw all capital projects, wrote three annexation plans and wrote several successful grants.

In the city of Wilmington, N.C., where he served in administrative positions for eight years, Kraus was involved with police department personnel and finance issues, as well as budget issues in general.

Kraus has a BA from DePauw University and a masters in public administration from Indiana University.

Marcus Collins is the current city manager of Crescent City, a town in the Palatka area with a population of about 1,800. He has been in that position for about three years. He will be interviewed at 4 p.m.

Collins cites 27 years in city government, including experience in economic development, planning, finance, electric utilities, solid waste management, fire and police services, parks, public works, solid waste management and natural gas, among many others. He claims effective negotiating skills, financial analysis techniques, economic development and CRA and historic district management.

In his current position in Crescent City, he works in many areas, including finance, the land development code, coordination with Putnam County and other area municipalities. He is implementing the "control of smart growth (controlling densities, green space)" while maintaining the integrity of the city's existing environment.

Prior to moving to Crescent City, Collins spent five years as the Public Services Director of Mount Dora. In that position, he was responsible for water and wastewater services, the electric department, streets, storm systems and solid waste and parks and recreation. He was also involved in proper growth management of residential and commercial development.

In the three years before his employment by Mount Dora, Collins was the director of water, wastewater, gas and engineering for the city of Leesburg. Prior to that, he was the utilities and public works director for the city of Apopka.

Collins has a BS in environmental management, and two MS degrees, in Environmental Management and Occupational Health and Safety, all earned in the early years of this century.

The final candidate to be interviewed, at 5 p.m., is Scott Lippman, a Williston resident of nearly 10 years.

Lippman offers "extensive first-hand county and local experience in Florida," and says he is "intimately familiar with communities and governments in Levy, Marion and Alachua counties."

His most recent government employment was as the administrative support manager of the Alachua County Public Works Department. That involved seven divisions with 24 budget funds in a $48 million budget. He also provided information systems and telecommunications support.

He was city manager of Archer in 2004-2005, where he directed public works, the water utility, zoning and comprehensive planning activities.

Lippman has extensive financial experience. He was finance director of Dunnellon for three years, where he wrote grants for governmental and community activities. He was the director of financial services for Hospice of Marion County, overseeing a $7 million budget, with responsibility for financial management, planning and purchasing.

As director of finance and administration of the Hitachi Foundation in Washington, D.C., Lippman developed the non-profit foundation's annual budget and oversaw its $36 million endowment. He also directed computer systems support and human resources, among other duties.

Lippman has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an MS in management from Johns Hopkins University.

Once these interviews are completed, City Council members will select the finalists, who will be asked to return for further interviews, tours of the city's facilities and "meet-and-greets" with city staff and the public.

The City Council will hold its next regular meeting on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.