Nine Manager Candidates Presented to Citizen Committee

By Mike Lednovich

Colin Baenziger & Associates has submitted nine city manager candidates to the city’s Citizens City Manager Search Committee for review. The following profiles are from Colin Baenziger’s summary document provided to the committee members and city commissioners.

The search firm listed the nine applicants by alphabetical order.

Here is the complete Colin Baenziger summary:

We are recommending you consider nine candidates (of the approximately 62 who applied) to be your next city manager. We believe all the candidates are very strong and would do an excellent job as your city manager. Brief summaries of their credentials follow as well as an outline of our next steps.

The recommended candidates:

Andy Butterfield: Mr. Butterfield has been the Operations Manager for city of St. Pete Beach, Florida (population 8,717) since 2019. Previously he served as the Director of Veteran Affairs at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island for one year. Prior to that, he had a 36-year career in the U.S. Navy, serving most recently as Joint Base Deputy Commander Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, as well as Commander for Naval Support Activity at Lakehurst for three years. In terms of management style, Mr. Butterfield is a consensus builder who focuses on organizational communication while moving multiple projects forward simultaneously. He revels in being part of a team where everyone is working together to make things better for all. One of Mr. Butterfield’s biggest achievements was knitting together disparate units and three previously separate military bases into one strong integrated team. Mr. Butterfield has a bachelor’s degree in naval science and political science from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S.Naval Post-Graduate School and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Kathleen Gunn: Ms. Gunn most recently worked for the city of Tamarac, Florida (population 70,943) for six years, serving the last two years as City Manager. Previously she was the Assistant City Manager for the city of Miramar, Florida (population 140,316) for three years, the Northeast Director of Development for Catholic Extension for two years, and the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (population 169,270) for seven years, serving six of those years as Assistant City Manager. Throughout her career she has successfully managed teams that have constantly improved the delivery of vital programs and services while steering cities to find their niche, leverage their unique character and attract investors. Ms. Gunn has done this through modeling curiosity, commitment, and positive, affirming behavior that starts with her as a leader. One thing she is proud of is successfully leading the city of Tamarac through crises including managing viral police and commission incidents, hurricanes, a pandemic, and the arrest of her predecessor. Her ability to stay calm in navigating extremely challenging circumstances while continuing to lead a cohesive team to execute plans effectively is exemplary. Ms. Gunn has a  bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration from Pace University and a master’s degree of pastoral ministry from St. Thomas University.

Tony Hammond: Mr. Hammond has been the City Manager for Archer, Florida (population1,144) since 2018. Previously he was the Town Manager for Ahoskie, North Carolina (population 4,874) for 12 years and the City Manager for Creedmoor, North Carolina (population 3,128) for two years. Mr. Hammond’s style of leadership is best described as situational. As such, he understands the pros and cons of various management styles, when each works best, and how to apply them to different team members. For example, some operate best with minimal input while some need more guidance and oversight. His goal is to employ democratic leadership while articulating company values, coaching, and motivational tools. He is particularly proud of several projects that he helped develop the initial concept and carried through to planning and design and final construction. These included a $2.5 million state of the art fire station, a $1.275 million state of the art police station, $17.5 million wastewater treatment plant and a $2 million recreational complex, all of which were completed on time and within budget.Mr. Hammond has a bachelor’s degree in health care management from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Dave Molgaard: Mr. Molgaard most recently was the Chief of Staff and Firm Administrator for Bailey & Glasser, LLP for four years. Previously he was the City Manager for Charleston, West Virginia (population 47,929) for 16 years, a City Council Member in Charleston for four years and an attorney for 15 years. As a manager and organizational leader, he looks to: develop and improve core competencies within the organization; deploy and leverage appropriate technologies; strategically align duties and responsibilities; identify, develop and retain leaders; reform work environments and provide incentives to facilitate the mission; and collaborate with others, both inside and outside of the organization. When Mr. Molgaard first stepped into the role of City Manager in Charleston, he found an organization with very siloed departments. The result was inefficiency and almost zero inter-departmental collaboration. During his tenure, the culture drastically changed, starting at the department head level. The result was a government that made great strides in cascading managerial initiative and accountability down to the middle managers and frontline supervisors. Mr. Molgaard has a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in industrial labor relations, and a juris doctorate degree from West Virginia University.

Mark Rooney: Mr. Rooney recently served as the Village Administrator for Round Lake Beach, Illinois (population 27,081) for almost two years. Previously, he was the Town Manager for Westerly, Rhode Island (population 22,651) for three years, the Village Manager for Carpentersville, Illinois (population 38,291) for eight years, and the Chief of Staff for North Chicago, Illinois (population 32,587) for one year. He also worked for Wheeling, Illinois (population 35,912) for six years, with the last three as Village Manager. Mr. Rooney believes his responsibility is to create and foster an organizational culture and environment in which creativity and trust are valued. Leadership starts at the top so he must serve as a role model for employees to follow. The greatest challenges facing Carpentersville in 2010 were a $1M structural deficit, failing infrastructure (roads and water/wastewater facilities) and the need to address economic development. He created the slogan, “Get to YES.” The idea was to actively seek legal ways to solve residents’ and businesses’ problems, rather than just saying no. It became the staff’s overarching objective, and the result was the organization’s mindset was transformed from bureaucratic lethargy to that of engaged problem solvers. Employee morale skyrocketed as did the satisfaction of citizens and stakeholders (as measured by surveys and feedback from the community). As a consequence, the Village also had a competitive edge in attracting local developers, businesses interested in relocating, and businesses already in the village who needed to expand their operations. Mr. Rooney has bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska. He has done coursework in the master’s degree program at Northern Illinois University but did not attain the degree. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Ty Ross: Mr. Ross has been the City Manager for Loudon, Tennessee (population 6,733) since 2017. Previously, he served as the City Administrator for Dalton, Georgia (population 33,644) for seven years. Mr. Ross’ management style is humanistic and focuses on employees’ needs. His three main tenets are to protect others, protect yourself, and serve. He is proud of his leading role in securing over a dozen acres of formerly dilapidated factories on Loudon’s downtown waterfront. The solution he designed and implemented with staff cleared all environmental hurdles and enabled the demolition and clearing of the property which opened clear lake views. What is more, he was able to rebrand a factory’s former water tower into a dramatic welcome sign that announces to all visitors they have arrived at a special place. The project remains exceedingly successful and, though somewhat stalled by COVID-19, is well positioned for both residential and mixed-use commercial development in the coming months. Mr. Ross has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia, a juris doctorate from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Bill Schmeling: Mr. Schmeling was most recently the Executive Director for the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority, New Jersey (population 27,814) for 14 years. Previously he was a Qualified Purchasing Agent for the Borough of Bradley Beach, New Jersey (population 4,198) for four years. Mr. Schmeling’s managerial style is to provide support to employees with firm and clear direction concerning expectations. He encourages all employees to increase their knowledge of their job through seminars, classes and other training situations. One achievement Mr. Schmeling is proud of was his recommendation to change the way excess flow sent for treatment from their largest service community was calculated. The existing agreement provided for a set annual excess flow calculation based on a fixed gallon per day per building unit. For the Authority’s treatment plant, yearly flow is not an issue, but daily flow can be an issue. The yearly approach was made worse by the fact that the service community’s population is not consistent year around, but it increased significantly in the summer months. He proposed that excess flow would be calculated on a daily basis, rather than a yearly basis, and charged accordingly. The resulting new agreement implemented a daily ceiling to determine excess flow, which increased revenue for the Authority. Mr. Schmeling has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. John’s University, a master’s degree in business administration and a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University.

Lee Smith: Mr. Smith was most recently the County Manager for Chatham County, Georgia (population 296,329) where he served in that role for eight years. Previously he was the County Manager for Wayne County, North Carolina (population 124,634) for 13 years, and the County Manager for Washington County, North Carolina (population 13,589) for eight years. Mr. Smith’s management style is to build teams that involve all levels of employees. These teams are assessed regularly and are part of developing solutions for county issues. His most recent achievement was the establishment of a new county police force in six months. Chatham County and city of Savannah had decided to part ways when they could not agree on cost sharing between the parties. The Commissioners gave him a budget and timeline, both of which were met. The results were an approximate $3M reduction in police service cost while also providing higher service levels such as response times averaging seven minutes or less. Most importantly they established a real “community” police force that talks with the businesses and citizens, participates in community events even on their own time and is seen as allies, not enemies. Mr. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of North Carolina. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Bill Sturgeon: Mr. Sturgeon was most recently with the city of St. Cloud, Florida (population 64,489) for nine years, serving the last five years as City Manager and four years prior as Fire Chief. Prior to that he was a Senior Safety Coordinator at Orlando Utilities Commission for two years. Mr. Sturgeon’s management style is known as “caring by walking around.” He does not sit in his office, but rather he makes sure he has a clear understanding of ongoing issues and that his team members have the resources and support they need to do their jobs. He is a hands-on manager. His leadership style is known as “leadership by intent” and is based on three principles: competence, clarity, and control. One important success Mr. Sturgeon had was professionalizing the staff and bringing leadership stability to the city of St. Cloud. This accomplishment set the city up for many years of success, and they are well equipped to address any future challenges that may occur. He was able to accomplish this transformation by emphasizing training/development, leadership by example, and by engaging his team in problem solving and decision-making processes – thus building a team of reliable professionals. Mr. Sturgeon has a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health from Columbia Southern University and a master’s degree in public administration from American Public University. He is a Certified Public Manager and an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Next Steps

The Citizens Advisory Committee will select the finalists on August 21 and forward their recommendation to the commission. The finalists will be invited to Fernandina Beach for a tour, public reception, and formal interviews with the city commission on September 11 and 12 with a possible decision then or shortly thereafter.