Two More Applicants for City Manager Make Twelve

By Mike Lednovich

There are now 12 applicants for the Fernandina Beach city manager position with the addition of former Chatham County (Georgia) Manager Lee Smith and Township of Oakland (Michigan) Manager Adam Kline.

Here are their profiles:

Adam T. Kline, Oakland Township Manager June 2019 to present

The Charter Township of Oakland is a charter township on the north Oakland County outskirts of Metro Detroit, in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is colloquially referred to as “Oakland Township.” The population was 16,779 at the 2010 census.

Last October, Kline interviewed to be the next Dundee Village (Michigan) Manager.

However, the majority of Kline’s experience is in law enforcement in Michigan.

In 2017, Chief Kline of the White Lake Township Police Department retired after 29 years of service.

Kline has been a member of the White Lake Police Department since December 1987. Previously, he spent three years in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1987. He then spent six months as a Sheriff’s Deputy for the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, where he was assigned to jail services.

After coming to White Lake, Chief Kline worked in the patrol division for seven years and in the detective bureau for 11 years. In 2005, he returned to the road patrol when he was promoted to sergeant. In 2010, Kline was promoted to lieutenant and served as the commanding officer of patrol operations.

In May of 2013, Kline was assigned commanding officer to the Investigation Division. In March 2014, Kline was promoted to Chief of Police. During his career, he received two department awards for meritorious service during the apprehension of criminals.

Lee Smith, Chatham County (Georgia) Manager for eight years until September 2022

According to WTOC-11 News in Savannah, Smith was suspended with pay as Chatham County manager in July 2022. No reason was provided by county officials.

Smith resigned five months later after reaching a severance agreement with the county.

Smith said in a November interview with the Savannah Morning News that he believed the reasons for his suspension to be “personal and political.”

He was hired as Chatham County manager in 2014.

Smith was involved in more controversy in his previous position, according to the Savannah News.

In early 2014, Smith’s tenure as manager of Wayne County, North Carlina had a rocky ending. The newspaper reported that at least one Wayne County commissioner questioned Smith’s credibility and honesty in the wake of an apparent controversy involving overpayments in the county’s payroll system totaling $500,000. According to Wayne County Commission meeting minutes from July, auditors found that 600 employees had been overpaid, with one employee getting $10,000 more than he earned.

In February 2014, Smith was paid $325,000 as part of a resignation agreement unanimously approved by Wayne County commissioners.

Smith served 13 years as manager of Wayne County, North Carolina, a county with a population of 124,583 residents about 50 miles southeast of Raleigh, beginning in 2001. According to his resume, Smith managed a $181 million budget, oversaw 1,100 employees and served a seven-member commission.

Smith’s resume indicates he served between 1993 and 2001 as manager of Washington County on the North Carolina coast, overseeing more than 150 employees and a $15 million budget. For three years prior to that, he was president and executive director of the Columbus County Committee of 100, a 501(c) 6 in North Carolina that promotes economic development. From 1987 to 1990, he was a city planner in Pamlico County, North Carolina.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

11 months ago

Is it wise to post information on candidates at this stage in the process? Might it be possible that the ideal candidate will be hesitant to apply knowing that their name and other information the Observer can find will be published? While this information is all public record, could it be that the ideal candidate who is currently serving well in a community, is not ready to disclose to their current board of elected or their citizens that they are testing the waters for a change?
Do we really want the best person we can attract or do we want to show off that we have the right to disclose information that could actually be a deterrent to the process? Could it be so that just because we have the right to do something, it doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do? Just asking.

Dave L
Trusted Member
Dave L(@dave-l)
11 months ago
Reply to  Wayned

Transparency is the key. If there is an applicant that is concerned about the information they submit will be released to the public, then they either don’t have an understanding of the the state’s Open Records law or they are not fully committed to interest in the position. While I understand the point about the sensitivity to their current employment status, if they are already in the public sector they should already be aware of that risk. If they are in the private sector, then they need to understand the major differences with regards to personnel information. I don’t see where a desire to hire the best qualified person conflicts with the transparency of disclosure.

Trusted Member
11 months ago

Thank you for continuing to make this important information readily available to the public. Critically important for the future of FERNANDINA BEACH, the island and all of Nassau County.