Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Interviews for Village Manager

Last night the two candidates for Village Manager interviewed in a public forum.  Each commissioner was given the chance to ask two questions of the candidate and the questions were pretty good.  

Both candidates have serious experience in municipal government.  

Colin Donnelly is the current assistant city manager at Dania Beach, with prior experience in both a small town and a large suburban town in New Jersey.  

Frank Bocanegra spent a career as an executive with Miami-Dade police, then worked as the city manager with Miami Lakes..  

Both candidates showed a strong grasp of the process and management part and each spoke of their style as being hands on and willing to do what's needed to keep the village moving.  

But on a key question neither provided a strong answer.  

To roughly paraphrase, the question by Eddie Lim was "Tell us about economic development for North Bay Village?  What should we be doing?"  

Now I don't expect an interviewee to have a magic bullet to resolve our problems but neither one seemed to have any clear idea of how economic development could work in a city like ours.   

Bocanegra seemed to misunderstand the question as one about finding savings in government and Donnelly spoke in generalities about grants and the type of businesses to attract.   

Looking at our revenues, it's easy to see that our tax base is out of whack and depends too heavily on property taxes and a simple ride on the Causeway (or better yet a walk) would show the undeveloped potential.   I would have expected the candidates to address the issues of improvement and tax diversity but neither had looked at the issues in North Bay Village.  

By the end of the meeting, I think it was clear to some on the dais that they had not found the right candidate and the search should be expanded.   There was even an attempt at a motion to do that, I think.  That's a story in itself.   

I hope the commission votes to extend the process.  We need to get this right and last night didn't inspire the confidence that we had.  

Kevin Vericker
June 6, 2013

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