New Beginnings ~ Questions & Answers from the TM Candidates

~ Image Courtesy of George Tanguay ~

Editor’s Note: There is an important meeting tonight – Discussion and possible action on the selection of the new Town Manager will be held. Come and have your say, and then watch the vote. It will be interesting and likely quite telling. Our town’s future is at stake. Please attend and give your input.

The following was written by Diane Bernhard ~

I attended Saturday’s Public Forum and found it absolutely fascinating. The idea of asking the candidates the combined public and commissioners questions was a great one. I made a list of the 15 questions and then added checks for good or Xs for bad as the candidates answered. Then, at the meet and greet I brought the conversation around to the topics and got some surprising answers.

1. Consult with Department Heads?
2. Experience with running daily life of town?
3. Excessive salaries?
4. Approach to spending?
5. What do you know about Lake Park?
6. Management style?
7. How to deliver service to a town?
8. How to build morale?
9. What do people criticize about you?
10. How to introduce important changes.
11. What do you know about our town (Again!)
12. Is Government broken?
13 How to get public involved?
14. How badly do you want this job?
15. Favorite way to make financial development?

Steve Cotrell: Has background in financial administration. (Editor’s note: I believe Mr. Cotrell has removed his name from consideration for the TM position.)
5. Knows nothing about Lake Park
6. Integrity. Not micro-management.
7. Not to be stuck in “this is how we always do it” and “thinks out of the box.”
8. Communication is key.
11. Knows nothing about our town
13. Staff as Ambassadors.
14. Wants “a job”, not necessarily our job.
Made apology at the end of his interview for being “flip”. When I spoke with him later he reiterated that he has several applications out there and will look up the town that wants to hire him. Then said something about the “Internet doesn’t always give the truth, anyway.”

Kimberly Glas-Castro Is a project manager, but has no experience running a town.
4. Wants a salary of $115,000, which was a higher figure than any other candidate mentioned.
11. This question was amended to “Why do you never attend Town meetings?”.
The candidate said they are “easy to see on TV” and said that she has kids.
14. The candidate stated that “I love Lake Park”, and she wants to move on with her original education.

Clarence Hulse – Works in economic development.
For both questions 4 and 15 concerning ways to improve finances he suggested getting the CRA to make loans.
5. Took the time to look LP up and is aware of finances.
11. Amended question. “How would you help improve finances in Lake Park?”
Would try to involve business owners.
In his closing, this candidate mentioned a “90 day plan” and said he “Spent his whole life helping people.” This candidate intends “to use tax-payers money wisely” and plans “to ask the right people for help.” During a conversation later on, when I informed him that the CRA was undergoing some modifications here, he did not have an alternative way for the Town to raise revenue or to grow financial development.

David Strohl 18 years in business management
Though this gentlemen did not rate double checks or Xs — either negative or positive — he gave consistently positive and re-assuring answers.
1. He would solicit help from Department Heads.
4. Has conservative financial approach.
6. His management style: Answers his own emails and phone. (Wow! that’s really small town management!)
7. Delivery of services to town — “Would use new eyes” and “question why things are done”.
8. In tough times he would build morale by “treating people with respect, build loyalty, build relationships.” Too bad he didn’t say how to do this.
9. He is criticized for being analytical.
12. “Is government broken?” He said that “people have more confidence in local government.”
13. How to get people involved in Town affairs? Social media, mailings, websites, newspapers.
14. Why Lake Park? Likes SouthEast, smaller communities.
15. “Grow financial development tax base?” Truly, I’m not sure I understood this question, or the answer… But this candidate used words like, “enterprise zone, sales and business tax, re-development source, business-friendly atmosphere” and that certainly showed that he understood the question and had some ideas about growing business.
His closing — that he likes small towns, has a hands-on approach and works by directive of the commission. Later, in more private conversation I found him quiet and shy, but pleasant and he spoke about how Lake Park is a much bigger community than the one he lives in and much more urban.

Dale Sugarman Opening was about family, Harley motorcycle, boat. 34 years in town management.
1. Does not expect the “salary of a rock star”.
3. Considers Department heads to be “key ingredient”.
5. Knows Lake Park history and that we are “struggling with finances” and he “sees potential”.
8. Does not believe that one “person builds morale for another”. Tries “to make people feel respected”.
9. When asked what people might criticize about him he gave very funny answer. “Abrasive.
And if you don’t like it, too bad!” Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…
10. Introduce changes? Gave example of having to make cost reduction. “Theme: Doing more with less.” Get Department Heads involved in the process.
14. How badly does he want this job? Lake Park is the only place he applied. But cannot say yet, as he hasn’t been given all the incidentals.
15. He believes in expanding tax base by “not giving anything away” and “making people want to be here.”
Mr. Sugarman mentioned that he has “marina experience”. His closing was a simple “Thank you”. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with him at the meet and greet.

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Many thanks to those who attended the forum last Saturday and special thanks to Diane Bernhard for going above and beyond and providing this insight from her question and answer time.

Please remember there are two meetings tonight beginning at 6:30 with a CRA board meeting. The regular Commission Meeting will follow with the Town Manager selection discussion. Please be there to see what happens next and to keep watch over our town!

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