This article offers a unique opportunity to tap into the minds of municipal leaders and gain invaluable insights to enhance your leadership acumen. Key takeaways include advice on effective decision-making, community engagement, and economic growth strategies.
“I think you need your heart to be in the right place. If you love the community and you love helping people. Public service is a great thing, and we need good young people to be there.
What I’ve enjoyed is that I don’t worry about knowing all the answers. I think if you have a good heart and you’re willing to work with people and listen, you’ll get to where you want to go.
The one thing with this business is you can have a lot of fun and have a lot of success, but it can also make you very weary and you’ve got to have that heart and that desire to get through. Sometimes, I think that’s the hardest part.”
“I think the sky’s the limit on what you can do and there are lots of great organizations that will teach you how to do stuff. I was a past president of The Florida Association of Counties and I’m a huge supporter of what they do. They have a leadership program that I’ve participated in.”
“My father was a state representative. I thought about running when I was 28. He was like, don’t run for a local government. ‘That’s the dumbest thing ever.’ He said you don’t want to govern where you live. ‘It’s too messy.’
I think, ‘how do you make the place you live better if you aren’t willing to do it?’ It can be very messy, but it can also be very rewarding. I think, at the end of the day, if you have a passion, if you want to make your community better, there’s no better thing to do than public service.”
“The advice I would give a young professional is always go to and get to know the people that really make things happen. It’s going to be your very experienced staff. Lean on them. Certainly, as elected officials, we have visions, but we rely on them (experienced staff). They’re the vehicle.
I think you won’t be successful if you try to come in and say I want to do it this way now. I would say, always communicate with your citizens, listen to your citizens, respond to your citizens, and if you do that, you should certainly be successful.”
“Government isn’t the bad guy. I think there is a general distrust of government because of the national politics. Local governments don’t operate under the political environment that often polarizes our nation. At the municipal level, our goal is to provide high-level service to our citizens and make decisions that will ensure the future is brighter than the past.”
“Staff. You are only successful as your team. Take care of your team and they will take care of the rest.”
“Family, the beach, and wine.”
“I think it complicates a lot. People are used to instant gratifications. It’s an unrealistic expectation. I’m actually considering deleting all the city’s social media accounts. I think it complicates the management of necessary and required local government functions.”
“I wish that residents, in general, understood that decisions are made with teams of people. There’s not an individual that made the decision that they were going to widen a road and disrupt part of your driveway or yard. The truth for Zionsville is that of the people that work in Zionsville (city government), almost all of them live in Zionsville and a handful of them were born in Zionsville. It’s a town hall filled with people who love the town and want to do the best they can for residents and visitors.”
“Probably to be patient. And the other one is to plan. For almost any project that I’ve been involved in, it seems like the local government, in general, takes a little longer for the plan to develop.
Growing up, I was not always a patient person. And so I’ve learned that you need to be patient and if you’re patient and willing to put in the time and effort and develop a plan, it will pay off. I’m going to go back to 2012, we didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we wanted to do something big. We wanted a big bang, a big ‘wow,’ but we didn’t know what that was. The city manager and city council could have pushed us hard and said, ‘Hey, make something happen.’ But even they were patient enough for us to get through a process that took ten years before we opened the doors (of Bryan Legends Event Center). So, tenacity, patience, and planning. I think all go hand in hand if you want to end up with a successful product.”
“Just knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, when you’re in a leadership position, you’re not going to get everything right all the time. But just being able to listen to folks and be sincere in your actions, I just think that makes everything better.”
“I think it allows from, a government standpoint, for us to be a little nimbler and quicker. The old days of having a bunch of red tape, several people in the ‘process of review’ before information gets out with it then going to the newspapers. Those days are kind of gone now.
We try to be proactive, so we know when things are going on within the community, whether good or bad. We try to get in front of it. And so, we actually have a social media team that develops those responses. We try not to react to social media. We try to be proactive. We don’t let speed get in the way.”