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The original item was published from 1/24/2019 12:05:00 PM to 1/24/2019 12:08:34 PM.

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Town News

Posted on: January 24, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Town Manager Interviews

The Town Commission plans to hire a new Town Manager to replace retiring Town Manager Bud Bentley.  Here are the final three candidates for the position.


He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University. Mr. Irby’s municipal experience is as follows: City Administrator, Apopka, FL. 2015-2018 pop. 51,000. $124 million budget City Manager, Umatilla, FL. 2006-2015 pop. 3,600 $11 million budget City Manager, Mascotte, FL 2005-2006 Asst. City Manager, Finance Director, Accountant Tavares FL. 1993-2004, pop. 7,000 Strong Mayor, Mineola, FL 1999-2000 3 Police Officer, Eustis, FL 1976-1985 He is currently unemployed. He left Apopka after a new Mayor was hired and brought in his own choice as Town Administrator. He did ask Mr. Irby to stay for a 90-day transition period. His most recent experience was in Apopka, a rapidly growing city west of Orlando. He was the City Administrator, working under a strong Mayor. The Mayor was the Chief Executive Officer of the City and had sole authority to hire and fire the Town Administrator. Department Heads were appointed by the Mayor, but their appointment required the approval of the Town Council. The Mayor Mr. Irby served under did not have managerial or business experience and delegated much of his managerial authority and all administrative authority to Mr. Irby. Mr. Irby handled a number of complex and controversial issues while in Apopka, including an industrial user overloading the city’s wastewater plant with more industrial pollutants than the plant was designed to handle and the negotiation of a complex financial arrangement with a developer for construction of an access ramp to a major highway that ran through the city in order to facilitate a large, mixed-use development. Mr. Irby proposed, and the developer ultimately agreed, that the developer pay the entire cost of the access ramp and the City would reimburse him from additional tax collections that resulted from the development. Wisely, Mr. Irby limited the period of time where that reimbursement would occur to four years. So, if the incremental increase in tax revenues for that defined area would only pay for 50% of the ramp’s construction cost, the developer would have to absorb the remaining 50% of the costs. While neither of these examples relate directly to challenges in LBTS, they do illustrate his ability to work through very complex issues and negotiations. And they show economic development skill. He also oversaw the construction of a new Fire station in Apopka, experience that could come into play in LBTS. In Umatilla, a town smaller than LBTS, he also demonstrated his economic development skills under very difficult circumstances, and his ability to deal with performance problems in his executive ranks. In his work in Tavares, he started as an accountant and worked his way up to Finance Director and Assistant City Manager. So, he clearly understands the financial aspects of municipal government. He has had exposure to all the functions of local government and, as a Police Officer for ten years, has a unique understanding of law enforcement challenges. Mr. Irby expresses a desire to get back to a smaller town, like LBTS, as he likes being out in the community and among his staff, something that is difficult to do when managing a larger city.

He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from North Illinois University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Manchester College. Mr. Stahl’s municipal experience is as follows: City Administrator, O’Fallon, MO 2017-2018 pop. 87,250 $121 million budget Acting Village Manager, Mount Prospect, IL 2014- 2015 Asst. Village Manager, Mount Prospect, IL. 1993-2016. pop. 56,500. $115 million budget Administrative Coordinator, St. Charles, IL pop. 33,000. $70 million budget He is currently unemployed. He left the City Manager position in O’Fallon by mutual consent after only a year there. He made the decision to part ways due to concerns about the Commission meeting each other to discuss issues out of the public eye. (The newspaper accounts are mum on the reasons for his departure and I have not yet had success in reaching any of the elected officials there for their explanation. I will continue to make attempts to do so before your meeting on Tuesday night.) While in Mount Prospect, Mr. Stahl was responsible for several high-cost and complex projects: • the $17 million Village Hall construction project, a project that he brought in on time and on budget. • The acquisition and implementation of an ERP, which is a complex software system that unifies in a single source the data and multiple functions of accounting, finance, human resources. As Assistant Village Manager there he supervised HR, IT, the PIO, was the Village’s Chief negotiator with four labor unions, was the Village’s staff liaison with the Village Attorney, and the staff liaison to state agencies and officials, the county and other municipalities. He was the Village’s Operations Commander for emergencies. He also was the point person in management for process improvement of Village functions and in monitoring implementation of the Village’s Strategic Plan and setting performance measures for the Village’s departments. Mr. Strahl served as Acting Village Manager for approximately one year during the Village Manager’s extended leave due to illness, so he had full responsibility for all aspects of city management during that period. He reports that the Manager was often absent in prior to that time and that he regularly absorbed the Manager’s responsibilities in those instances, too.

He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science/Public Administration from Appalachian State University. He is a credentialed municipal manager by the International City County Managers’ Association. 5 Mr. Vance’s municipal experience is as follows: City Manager, Pickerington, OH. 2010-20018. Pop. 18,500 Town Manager, Lady Lake, FL 2004-2009 Pop. 14,000 $20 million budget. Town Manager, Luray, VA 2000-2003 Pop. 4,800 $6 million budget Town Administrator, Franklinton, NC. Pop. 2,200 Mr. Vance has had a wide variety of municipal management experiences. He left his last position as City Manager in Pickerington, Ohio, a city near Columbus, Ohio after eight years there in order to attend to personal issues, including a daughter’s illness and a divorce. In Pickerington, he championed several economic development efforts, including city grants to business on their historic main street to revitalize the exteriors of commercial properties. The City did a comprehensive revamp of its land use and development regulations while he was there. They also restructured development fees so that the City could supplement their limited staff for engineering and building plans review and inspections with contracted staff support. The fees allowed the City offer a higher level of service without spending taxpayer dollars to do so. He modified the approach to code enforcement, calling on staff to take a more cooperative approach with property owners over violations, resorting to notices of violations and fines only after approaching the property owner in a friendly manner and giving them reasonable time to correct the violations. The City did not raise property or income taxes during his tenure there, yet increased reserves. The Mayor there told me that Mr. Vance ran a lean operation very effectively. He managed multiple large construction projects in Pickerington, including a large and complex street project. He had a five-year tenure in Lady Lake as Town Manager, but left there amid considerable controversy. A Police Lieutenant, who was out on disability, committed suicide and criticized Mr. Vance in his suicide letter. And his HR Director unwittingly sent a document out in response to a public records request that contained the personal information of employees. That information should have been redacted. Mr. Vance indicated to me that his departure was not forced and the City Attorney confirmed that in a telephone conversation with me. He indicated Mr. Vance had the support of four of five Commission members at the time of his departure. The minutes of the meetings where his severance agreement was approved had very vocal criticism of him from one particular Commission member and members of the audience. I have completed two reference interviews regarding him, one with the Mayor of Pickerington and one with the City Attorney of Lady Lake. Both of them emphasized that Mr. Vance is 6 someone who is very effective at carrying out the wishes of his City Council and that he gets things done. Both praised his interpersonal skills. Mr. Vance stresses his pride in creating a team atmosphere in the cities he has run, stating he is not a micro-manager but likes to stay informed of progress on assignments. Based on the comments at the Lady Lake Commission meeting, I feel I need to complete reference checks on him before suggesting he be a finalist

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Posted on: April 9, 2020