City of Fernandina Beach
March 18, 2016 1:00 a.m.
The vetting process employed by Mr. Colin Baezinger following my application to the City of Fernandina Beach was the most thorough review of my career, credentials, and references that I have ever experienced. In the months leading to my appointment here, I was interviewed in several other communities for similar City Manager positions. Despite getting to the interview stage in those communities, none of my references ever indicated to me that they had been contacted. As part of the selection process here, I was required to provide an exhaustive list of references, some very specific, such as my current Town Attorney, auditor, Chamber of Commerce, etc. To the best of my knowledge, every single reference provided was contacted.
The historic information provided to the City Commission for each candidate was extensive. Reading through the older newspaper articles rekindled so many memories- the personalities and issues from earlier days illustrate some peaks and valleys over the past twenty years. It has been a wonderful ride.
Also included in the candidate packet (obviously) was a copy of my resume. It was during the initial “Candidate Meet and Greet” session at the Fernandina Beach Golf Course that several interested visitors commented on the personal interests that I listed.
Two of those interests don’t need much explaining. I like to read. Getting a library card was one of the first tasks that I completed as I settled into my new community. I enjoy some of the popular fiction- legal thrillers, mysteries- as well as a variety of nonfiction- primarily history. I am currently reading Clifton Hood’s 722 Miles: The Building of the New York Subway and How They Transformed New York.
I also like to golf. I can easily play more golf here than I could in Connecticut. The maintenance expenditures for the greens will not have to be increased due to my play. The Tree Conservancy, however, may be interested in my services to help chart the location of trees on the golf course.
The personal interest that garners the most bewildered attention is my collection and enjoyment of boardgames. I have collected games for nearly forty years, and my collection has approximately five hundred games, nearly all of which now line the walls of the “game room” at my house. While some of the games are familiar to most, such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Candy Land, and Uno, most of the games are relatively obscure to the general public.
It used to be that I’d purchase my games at hobby stores. The games (at that time primarily historic military simulations) usually found shelf space next to the plastic models and radio-controlled airplanes. The games were attractively and colorfully packaged, the size and shape of the leading publisher of that time was so recognizable that I can still pick out an Avalon Hill game in the clutter of a garage sale or thrift store. With the relative demise of those hobby stores, it has become difficult to find new games in the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Barnes and Noble Bookstores are starting to carry more popular titles, but, for the most part, game purchases are made through specialized online sites (meaning that customers don’t inadvertently or frequently happen upon those sites).
I have games representing a broad variety of topics. As I mentioned, I have several military simulation games. These games are mainly for two players. I have games related to naval warfare (sailing ships to modern navies), aerial engagements (World War I to fictional star fleets), and ground combat (from gladiators to space marines). The rules for the games similarly vary, from a few simple pages to complete volumes. Accompanying the games are dozens of magazines that offer historic and gameplay insight for many of the games.
Those military history games had their “glory days” in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In the 1990’s, however, a different style of games developed. These games had their genesis in Europe, and are commonly referred to as “Euros.” The style of play is markedly different than the history games: the games are not as reliant upon dice, making use of cards or other mechanics, and most of the games are for multiple players. The topics of these games are even more diverse: build railroads, lead civilizations, develop farms, manage circuses, run corporations, be a pirate, be a planner, be a politician.
I had a group of friends and we’d meet every week at someone’s house for an evening of friendship and camaraderie. Those evenings (and early mornings in some cases) presented different and more enjoyable challenges than the rest of the work week. On occasion, we reached out to churches and schools to introduce others to our interesting “geekiness” (Lisa’s description). The world of boardgames remains relatively unknown, but it is becoming more popular.
So at least one of my personal interests is uncommon, but it is truly enjoyable, fascinating, and family-friendly.