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Bios of six finalists for Kenneth City manager as interviews approach

KENNETH CITY

Judging by the six finalists for the position of this town's first manager, the job can be challenging. Five of the six are no longer employed as managers, having left, been fired or had their jobs eliminated. Here are the six finalists, in alphabetical order:

JOHN BAUER, 61, Wilmington, N.C., has a bachelor's in government from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, N.Y. He has 20 years' experience in government, including seven years as a director of public utilities for Wilmington and 15 years as a county manager. Those years as county manager included two stints with Pender County and one with Lenoir County, both in North Carolina. He was fired during his second stretch with Pender. News reports blamed the firing on his being harsh to employees. "The short answer to that is yes," Bauer said. "Those that knew they weren't doing the job resigned." Since then, he has worked as a federal government adviser in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently a self-employed consultant.

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"I think initially you need to be very visible and very communicative. ... I look forward to (working) long hours" and listening to and meeting people. He plans to wander around Kenneth City the day before the interview to meet residents and others, hear their ideas and discover the issues.

MATTHEW CAMPBELL, 42, Crystal Beach, has a bachelor's in geography and management from Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has 17 years' experience in government and private sector jobs. He was most recently assistant to the Dunedin city manager before the job was eliminated last year. He has been interim director of planning and development, both for Dunedin; senior planner for Hillsborough County; and transportation planner for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority.

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"Initially, meetings with staff, council members. Lots of note taking and listening to council, staff and residents."

ROBERT KELLOGG, 60, Palm City, has a bachelor's in political science from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. He has 36 years' experience in government that includes elected and appointed positions. He served about nine years as city manager of Rittman, Ohio, and about seven as town manager of Sewell's Point in Martin County, Fla. He lost his job with Sewell's Point after a no-confidence vote from the council. The council, he said, wanted to move in another direction, and "I respect that. ... They're moving on just as I am."

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"Bring in a facilitator to help establish the roles and responsibilities of council and manager. Hold annual visioning sessions for the council to set a direction for the town. He and the staff would then work to see that vision become reality."

FREDERICK NUTT, 63, Tampa, has a bachelor's in business administration and a master's of public administration from the University of Georgia in Athens. He has 37 years' experience in government, including jobs as city manager of Cape Canaveral, county administrator of DeSoto County, and various jobs with Hillsborough County that include operations and fiscal administration division director, interim public works director and manager of highway design. He retired from Hillsborough after his job was eliminated. He most recently served as a budget consultant for Madeira Beach.

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"Opening up the lines of communication and being honest and developing mutual respect and confidence. Having transparency so everyone understands what's going on."

JOHN SCHNEIGER, 58, Sarasota, has a bachelor's in political science and a master's in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and an MBA in management from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He has about 23 years' experience in government, including jobs as city manager of New Port Richey and the municipalities of Montrose, Fruita and Granby in Colorado. He resigned from his New Port Richey job in 2012 during a dispute with the council over budget issues. The council had ordered him to make cuts, then restored them and raised taxes rather than take his advice. Schneiger said he resigned because "my sense was there was a desire to make a change and basically, I was trying to make it easy for them."

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"I don't think it's something that's going to happen overnight. I think a lot of it boils down to communication and being open-minded about where each other's coming from" and understanding that everyone has the good of the community at heart.

MELL SMIGIELSKI, 57, Mahomet, Ill., has a bachelor's in political science and public administration with a minor in accounting, finance and economics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He has about 29 years' experience in government, including both elected and appointed positions. Those include the job of city clerk, budget director and zoning administrator for the city of Du Quoin, Ill.; and village administrator of Spring Green and North Fond du Lac, both in Wisconsin. He has been village administrator, budget director and deputy liquor commissioner of Mahomet since 2006.

How would you help the council and residents make the change to the new style government?

"You would have to invite the public in … to discuss what's going to happen as we all move forward. It's a learning curve for the board. It's a learning curve for the public. … The bottom line is, the educational process is going to take time. You have to sit down with the public to find out what their expectations are" so there is no disappointment as reality sets in.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect the correct city of residence for Matthew Campbell.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow her on Twitter @alindbergtimes.

fast facts

Big day for a small town

Kenneth City voters decided last year to change their form of government to a council-manager style in which a professional manager runs the day-to-day activities of the town while the council sets policy. The town received 37 applications for the position. A committee of three former city managers whittled that list to 11. The Town Council chose six finalists, who will be interviewed Feb. 8 at Park Station, 5851 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m., with interviews starting at 9 a.m. Both are open to the public. The manager is expected to begin work in early March and earn up to $85,000 a year. For information, call (727) 498-8948.

Bios of six finalists for Kenneth City manager as interviews approach 01/28/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 11:29am]
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