The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, June 5, 1995, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Rhonda H. Gerber, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Catherine C. Hanson; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Sue Whittle, Interim County Manager; Rolon Reed, Interim County Attorney; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, Finance, Audit & Budgets; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
COUNTY EMPLOYEES/COUNTY MANAGER
Mr. David Donaldson, David M. Griffith & Associates, Inc., briefly discussed a questionnaire that had been provided to the Board by his firm, to aide them in conducting the interviews for County Manager. He stated that there needed to be consistency in the questions, so that the Board would evaluate the same types of information from the candidates. He noted that the Board had also been provided with a Recruitment and Selection Rating Sheet for each of the candidates, to aid them in their evaluations, rating the candidates from their interest in the position and the County to their personality and approach, their technical skills and knowledge, communication and interpersonal relationship skills, background experience, and strongest qualities and weaknesses.
The candidates were interviewed and asked to respond to a series of questions, ranging from how they felt their background prepared them for the County Manager position to how they would motivate staff, what actions they would take to establish a sound relationship with the members of the Board, whether they would participate in community activities and events and to what extent they felt a County Manager should be active and visible in the community, their experience in budgeting and finance, their approach in working with constitutional officers, their background in the areas of growth management and development activities, and their personal and professional code of ethics, in relationship to that which ICMA (International County Manager's Association) expects and how they would expect employees in County government to adhere to a code of ethics, in terms of people they may deal with on a daily basis. Following is a summation of the interviews:
MR. THOMAS W. FRAME - PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA
Mr. Frame stated that, between 1940 and 1990, Charlotte County was the fastest growing county in the State of Florida, therefore, he felt he could offer the County experience in dealing with a high growth county and issues associated with land use decisions. He stated that he felt the County needed to involve the public more in the planning process, because they were the ones that it was for and the ones that the County should be receiving input from, to decide what the future of the County was going to be.
Mr. Frame stated that he felt he was a good listener, had a strong belief in employees that work for him, believed in empowering employees, operated with an open door policy and tried to make his office available to all people. He stated that he believed in a good conservative approach to budgeting, however, at the same time, realized the need for enhancing revenue. He briefly discussed how he would handle any reorganization, if needed, within the County and in developing flow charts and guidelines for the chain of command, as well as his experience in formatting information, as it came to the Board.
Mr. Frame stated that he felt one had to maintain an arms length relationship with people one did business with, with regard to a code of ethics, in order to objectively deal with them and that he would expect the same from his employees. He stated that he felt it was pertinent that the County Manager maintain a good working relationship with the municipalities and that he felt it was also important to coordinate the County's planning process with them. He stated that he had always had a good working relationship with the Constitutional Officers and felt that they were part of the organization. He stated that he felt the County Manager should become involved in the community and noted several groups and organizations that he belonged to and was active in, in Charlotte County. He stated that he considered himself to be reasonably computer literate.
Mr. Frame stated that he had a good working relationship with the Board of County Commissioners of Charlotte County, until he resigned, at which time he noted the reason why he resigned. He stated that one had to realize there were five personalities on the Board, sometimes with five entirely different ideas and that, hopefully, the County Manager could keep the broad target in mind. He stated that he felt the County Manager had to have a good working relationship with the County Attorney, because if there was not a good working relationship between the two, everything would suffer. He stated that government had to be a team effort.
Mr. Frame stated that he did not see any real difference between a County Administrator and a County Manager, other than name, and regarding the issue of a charter government, did not feel that it had to be a threat to Constitutional Officers. He stated that, if one got down to basic business operations, he was not sure there would be a significant gain by having a charter government. He stated that there is broad authority under home rule, which he elaborated on. He stated that he felt the key to charter government was not so much what the Board could do, but what the general public and citizens were capable of doing, under the terms of the charter. He noted that he would feel comfortable working under either type of government.
Mr. Frame stated that the challenge of trying to provide public services was the ultimate challenge for him and the professional growth that one gets out of it was the driving force in his job as County Manager. He stated that he enjoyed working in public service, noting that it was all he had basically done, and that he felt there was a tremendous reward that comes from it. He stated that he felt he had something to contribute and that was what motivated him.
Mr. Frame stated that, regarding the issue of the County being involved in a crisis, possibly a natural disaster, he felt the County should have a good Emergency Management Director and that he felt there should be a good working relationship between the Sheriff, the School Board, and various organizations in the County. He stated that he felt Emergency Management was an extremely important issue.
Mr. Frame then questioned the Board regarding environmental and water quality issues and impact fees. He stated that, should he be selected for the position of County Manager, he would not be available for approximately two to three weeks, in order to tie up some loose ends in Charlotte County.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a ten minute recess.
MR. R. LEE GILMOUR - ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA
Mr. Gilmour stated that, based on his experience, both academic and professional, and from what he had seen in driving around the County, felt that he could bring to the position a strong financial and planning background. He stated that he felt it was important to obtain public input, as well as make sure that issues relative to diversity, economic strength, and a general consensus were laid out in a Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Gilmour stated that his management style was very team oriented, noting that he felt it was important that all county employees realize what the policies are, what direction the organization was going in, and have a chance to ask questions and be advised as to what their particular role is. He stated that, in addition to that, he felt it was important to build different teams and shift people around and give them a chance to grow, from a professional salary standpoint, and to put together different teams to address particular issues.
Mr. Gilmour stated that his dealings with municipalities and constitutional officers had been successful, although he felt the County Manager's role was to make sure everyone understood and was given the opportunity to participate in the policies that were established by the Board. He stated that he felt it was very important for the County Manager to make sure that all the constitutional officers and the municipalities were treated fairly and that they had an explanation regarding what direction the Board was going in and what they would like, as well as what their role would be, and explain any activities that were going on, so that there were no misunderstandings.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he felt he was fair, hard working, had a willingness to listen, and was decisive. He stated that, in working with the budget, he would make sure that all the various offices had an opportunity to give input about what they felt they needed and not make any automatic suppositions. He stated that he would have the various agencies prioritize what their concerns and issues were and require them to have some type of backup to support their concerns.
Mr. Gilmour briefly discussed revenue flow and how he would handle same. He stated that he felt, within limits, impact fees were a good idea, but would not want to hit one particular area very hard. He stated that he would try and diversify over a wider spectrum, so that there are many different revenue sources coming in, therefore, the County would not be as sensitive to any one particular set of economic conditions.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he felt it was important to present the Board with a document that was easy for them to understand and one that addressed concerns that had been expressed and to have available any backup documentation that a Commissioner, or the Board, as a whole, might be interested in seeing. He stated that he was a very strong advocate of total quality management, however, noted that his experience had been that one cannot implement it over night, that it usually needs to be phased in. He stated that he felt the best way to deal with performance measurements and having something that was equitable and understandable was to work with the various departments and agencies and make sure that the information they were reporting was factual and relatively easy to gather and that it made a fair comparison from one time period to the next. He stated that he felt teamwork, training, and flow of information were imperative, even if the County did not operate in a total quality management background.
Mr. Gilmour discussed the development of a Geographical Information System, noting that he felt it was probably going to become mandatory within the next five to seven years and that he felt it was very important for local government to get ahead of it and have their systems operating, for reasons which he noted. He stated that his approach to dealing with the Board would be from a professional standpoint, following the guidelines set out by ICMA. He stated that he would try to understand each of the positions and characteristics of the elected officials, make sure that they were advised about everything that was going on, not provide information to one different from another, and, as a general rule of thumb, not socialize with one commissioner any more than another. He stated that he felt it was very important to keep that distance, because the County Manager has one very important role, relative to the Government, and the policy makers have another. He stated that he did not expect, at all times, to be in the best graces and favors of the policy makers and that he felt it was important to treat each of them with the respect that the office deserves, to be totally candid and honest with them, and to provide information that is correct and accurate.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he felt the relationship between the County Manager and the County Attorney had to be a very close one, due to actions that persons or groups might take against the County that would require effective communication and interplay between the two offices. He stated that the other aspect would not only be reacting to issues that might come through the County Attorney's Office, but to work in conjunction with the County Attorney, to provide alternatives, so that the Board could act in situations, rather than react to them, and be prepared for any type of incident that may come up.
Mr. Gilmour stated that his experience had been that there was no one particular organization group that worked best all times, in all situations and, in addition to that, as a body continues to grow and expand, or change with the conditions, then the organizational structure needs to change. He stated that he felt it was important that the organizational structure be understood by the policy makers and that the policy makers be in a position to get the feedback that most effectively deals with their issues, which he elaborated on.
Mr. Gilmour stated that his involvement in a community would depend on what the community expects, noting that some communities like a low profile type County Manager. He stated that he liked to spend his time off with his family, however, felt that it was important, when there was a request from a citizen group, civic club, political party, etc, that the County Manager be available and able to explain what was going on in the County. He stated that he also felt it was imperative that the County Manager be available to the media. He stated that he felt it was equally important to make sure that the County Manager's position not overshadow or overtake the role of the policy makers, because they were the ones that were elected by their constituents and the ones that questions would be asked of. He stated that, depending on the issue and the circumstances, it is a give and take relationship, but, as long as there is a good flow of information between the County Manager's Office and the Board, he did not feel there would be any problems.
Mr. Gilmour stated that, with regard to increasing the tax base, without increasing services, felt the most important thing would be to look at what the County could and could not do. He stated that, Lake County, good or bad, from what he had seen, was in a strong position to be a very diversified type of community that emphasized and highlighted its natural resources. He stated that he felt it would be very important to tie into the Orlando market, noting that the reality is that it is a strong, booming, economic, very diversified community. He stated that he felt it would be in the County's best interest to pursue some type of office park for the toll road corridor that the County has, as well as Hwy. 441, or some of the other corridors, to come in and provide an aesthetically pleasing business atmosphere that will cause people to say they feel Lake County is the community to choose, out of many. He stated that he also felt it was very important that local businesses not be left behind and that whatever could be done to encourage them, by providing some type of financial, or, where allowable, regulatory support, should be done, because most of the time that is where the County is going to be successful. He stated that, with the amount of open land in the County, people were coming into the County making a living choice first and that his experience had been, when a community makes a living choice first, then the County has to be very careful about what type of economic activity it brings in.
Mr. Gilmour stated that, to be a responsible fiscal steward, he would make sure that the revenue stream was reviewed at least biannually, if not annually, and would make sure that as many different options that could legally be pursued were available. He stated that he would also, every two to three years, have the policy makers go through and evaluate every program, even those programs that may have, historically, been considered sacred.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he would listen to what each of the Commissioners had to say, both in dialogue that they would have with him individually and how they would discuss and talk about issues with each other, particularly in the public forum, and then talk with the Commissioners and try to get some type of consensus. He stated that, with regard to issues that appear to be fairly sensitive to one Commissioner or another, he would approach that Commissioner, ask for his or her opinion, consider all the various angles and then bring all the alternatives, or possible policy changes to the Board, as a whole, to take a look at.
Mr. Gilmour stated that, if he were faced with a situation where the Board would vote on an issue that was in strong opposition to his own personal feelings about what was right, he would voice his concerns, depending on the seriousness of the issues, in writing, or orally, particularly in the policy formulation format, advise the Board about his concerns, give an explanation as to why he was concerned and then, once the Board met and voted, that would be the end of it. He stated that, if it was something he felt would cause him major personal problems, then he would wait and see, first, and, if it seemed to be an ongoing trend, he would meet with the Commissioners and let them know.
When asked what would be the one thing that would make him want to stay in the County for a long time, Mr. Gilmour stated that, first and foremost, it would be the schools; secondly, it would be the general makeup of the community; and thirdly it would be the availability of diversified activities.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he strongly supported and adhered to the Code of Ethics, noting that he felt it was important that the County Manager, because of the pivotal role he or she would play, could not get personally involved and could not take any type of nonprofessional opinion, relative to any issue that may come up. He stated that, as far as the County employees are concerned, he would encourage them to follow that same rule. He stated that he did not foresee any problems working in the State of Florida, with regard to the State's public records and public meetings law, noting that he was very comfortable in an open public format.
Mr. Gilmour stated that the challenge of county government excited him, in the fact that it changes all the time. He stated that municipalities are more focused on a physical type of service delivery, the State and Federal Governments are usually too removed from the general populace to really understand what is going on, but counties get to interact with both of those bodies, work with the municipalities, and have a direct impact on a number of people's livelihood and community well being and he found that exciting. He stated that, with regard to a charter form of government, he had worked with both and would work within the confines that are provided.
Mr. Gilmour briefly discussed Georgia's Growth Management Act and how it was perceived and worked, within the requirements imposed by the State. He stated that he felt there could not be one total singular Comprehensive Plan that would deal with the entire County, because that is not the way a county is structured. He stated that a county has a lot of different communities, therefore, the County needs to hold public hearings, listen to input, and then put together plans that address what are required by the State, but also have a working document that can be used by the local communities.
Mr. Gilmour questioned the Board about whether they were in a position to do something about the solid waste issue.
Mr. Gilmour stated that, should he find himself in the middle of differences of opinion on the Board, he would try to bring the two sides together by (1) being a sounding board, relative to concerns, or issues, and which way they should go and (2) either one on one, if requested, or with the body as a whole, try to provide, preferably ahead of time, a series of alternatives or suggestions on different ways to go, with regard to a policy issue that would be coming up, to allow them a chance to review the matter, without having to make a decision right away.
Mr. Gilmour stated that he would not be available to start work for at least 30-45 days.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:20 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a ten minute recess.
MR. C. WILLIAM HARGETT, JR. - NAPLES, FLORIDA
Mr. Hargett stated that his background consisted of 23 years of both city and county government experience. He stated that it had been progressive and at the executive level and that he had served for four different states, five cities, and one county. He stated that he had served for 32 different council members and commissioners and felt that he had acquired a very good feel for things that work and do not work and had come to recognize the various roles, first that of the Board and then that of the County Manager, and had come to have an appreciation for the difference between the two. He then discussed how he prepared himself for his interview.
Mr. Hargett stated that Lake County represented a unique opportunity for him, in that it had potential for growth, which was exciting to him, as it was a field that he had expertise in. He stated that the County had an initial physical attraction and, from his investigation into the goals of the Board, it seemed to be a nice fit with his background and experience, in terms of what the Board was looking for and what he could provide, which stimulated his interest in the position.
Mr. Hargett stated that he would describe his management style as participatory, noting that he liked to involve those people who are closest to the problem in the decision making process. He stated that he was an informed decision maker, extremely flexible, but decisive when he needed to be. He stated that he believed in involving employees in the total quality management concept, establishing the importance of what an employee does, giving them ownership, and that he liked to go one on one with them, in the field. He stated that, in coming to Lake County, he would have three priorities, the first being people (the Board), the second being people (the citizens), and the third being people (the employees of the County).
Mr. Hargett stated that he had an indepth background in the operation of municipalities and some of the issues they face and had been able to look at it from a county perspective. He stated that he felt having an understanding and being able to communicate with them on issues of concern and being able to understand those issues would be a most valuable asset. He stated that, with regard to constitutional officers, they are elected representatives of the people and have responsibilities that they are charged with carrying out and he did not see that as a conflict with the Board's responsibilities, nor with that of the County Manager. He stated that his experience to date had been a cooperative one, while it had not been without a discussion at times, and that he had always been able to have an excellent working relationship with them.
Mr. Hargett stated that he found the Budget Office being under the Clerk of the Court, rather than under the Board, unusual and would want to evaluate the process and come back to the Board with any recommendations that he might have about continuing or changing it, however, he did not feel it presented a problem.
Mr. Hargett stated that he was a very credible individual, which he felt stemmed from a high level of confidence in what he does and in honesty in what he does. He stated that he was a motivator of people, was very approachable and accessible, and was a good listener. He stated that he had opinions, but pretty much an open mind. He stated that he was an individual that did not require employees to adjust to his management style and that he was able to recognize the fact that there are employees that are comfortable with high levels of responsibilities and others that just want someone to make the decisions and tell them what to do. He stated that he was willing to delegate authority and the responsibility that goes with it, however, had developed an understanding that, if they are extremely uncomfortable with it, they are probably not going to do a good job and that is when he would influence the decision making process and provide appropriate direction.
Mr. Hargett stated that he had done 23 various budgets, which he noted, therefore, felt that he could go from one end to the other, in terms of preparing a budget. He stated that, should the Board find itself in a position where it was struggling, in formulating a consensus on a particular issue, he would try to facilitate the process of how the Board would get to where they, as a group, collectively decided they wanted to go. He stated that he would not presume to be any type of referee between members of the Board, but realized that it would be his goal to carry out any policy that the Board would set.
Mr. Hargett stated that he endorsed the Code of Ethics adopted by ICMA and would take no exception to them. He stated that he felt one of the characteristics the Board would be looking for in a County Manager would be honesty and someone that understood that, not only did a plan have to have merit, but it also had to be sellable. He stated that the types of decisions and recommendations that he would bring to the Board would be ones based on sound business decisions, understanding that there were certain political, economical, environmental, and social considerations, and that they would need to be brought together and, from that, there would be a basis for a recommendation to the Board, which he noted would be a good, sound, business recommendation. He stated that the performance and conduct of the employee force begins at the top, whether it be the Board, or the County Manager, as to the standard that is set, and that he would expect the highest of standards from employees - those characteristics of honesty, truthfulness, and good work ethics.
Mr. Hargett stated that he felt the County Manager should be involved in the community, at which time he listed various committees and organizations that he was involved with. He stated, however, that he felt the County Manager should be cautious in doing so, noting that, from time to time, there may develop differences of opinion, in support between a particular group and the Board, and that the County Manager should be very cognizant of that and attempt to avoid those types of situations.
Mr. Hargett addressed the issue of cost containment and revenue growth, as well as user fees, at which time he discussed how Collier County dealt with same. He then discussed how he would deal with economic growth in the County, stating that approximately 60-70% of economic development comes from development that the County already has. He stated that a county thinks of attracting new companies, which he feels is very important in creating new jobs and holding up the County's tax base, however, noted that there is a wealth of opportunities within the communities and he feels the County should tell those people that it appreciates them being in the community, that it hopes they will stay, and ask what it can do to help them stay.
Mr. Hargett stated that there was nothing in Collier County that upset him, or that he was real unhappy about, that would cause him to want to leave, but there were things about Lake County that interested him. He stated that the County had a lot of potential and that he would like to be a part of it and that there seemed to be a close fit between the things the Board identified as their goals and priorities and the things that he had done and been very successful with. He stated that everybody likes to do things they are good at and he saw the move to Lake County as an opportunity for him to step in and help achieve those goals.
Mr. Hargett stated that he had had experience in participating in a local area internet and noted advantages that he saw in doing so. He stated that he had a very indepth background in PC operations and would consider himself an expert.
Mr. Hargett stated that he felt it would be the duty of the County Attorney's Office to provide him with requested legal counsel, to make sure that he did not get into trouble, and to provide him with appropriate direction on those things that he might request of them, but, first and foremost, he considered them as counsel to the Board, not to the County Manager, but to assist him, as the Board may direct. He stated that, in working with the Board, he felt communication was not the solution to all problems, but certainly would go a long way. He stated that, if he had a viewpoint different from a Commissioner, he would try to understand their viewpoint and build on the areas of disagreement and, hopefully, in the end, through communication of give and take and compromise, would be able to decide which way to go.
Mr. Hargett stated that he had been involved in growth management for many years, noting that he had been involved with 9J5 and the development of Comprehensive Plans since his career started in local government. He stated that he felt the Growth Management Plan was an extremely fine document and an excellent start, however, was somewhat concerned with the recent action by the Governor and what it might do to the County's ability to regulate growth management. He stated that he felt timing was the issue and, with regard to what the Board desired, in terms of growth management issues, felt they would be policy direction and that he would carry them out, whether he personally agreed with them or not. He stated that he sometimes got the feeling that the County was a field office for DCA and that he would like to be considerably more aggressive in some areas, in terms of growth management. He stated that he found they were inconsistent, on the local level, in terms of what the county was doing. He stated that it was not a simple issue, but one that would determine the future and quality of life for the people who live in Lake County, over any other issue that will be discussed, and that he felt it should be recognized and given the attention that it deserved.
Mr. Hargett stated that he felt utilities was the key issue to urban sprawl and that he felt it could be controlled. He stated that he felt the Board needed to talk to the County Manager about their objectives, in terms of controlling urban sprawl, and the will to control it. He stated that he felt bigger was not better and that he felt there were considerable advantages to moving forward in a preplanned and determined manner and that there was a quality of development that was of issue. He stated that, even though he would not set that policy, he would carry it out. He stated that he understood growth management and the trade-offs and that was how he could be of assistance to the Board
Mr. Hargett indicated that he did not have any questions for the Board, however, thanked them for the opportunity to be interviewed, noting that he felt honored to be considered by the Board for the position of County Manager. He stated that he looked forward to the possibility of working with them and serving the citizens of Lake County.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 12:30 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for lunch and reconvene at 1:15 p.m.
MR. EUGENE T. LAUER - UPPER MARLBORO, MARYLAND
Mr. Lauer stated that he felt he had strong interpersonal skills, noting that he liked people and liked to deal with them, both internally, within the organization, and externally. He stated that he liked a lot of community contact. He stated that he felt employees were often beaten up and not made to feel good about themselves, but, felt they should be proud of serving in government service. He stated that he was one who practiced a lot of management, by walking around and making sure he knew employees on a first name basis, noting that he was over approximately 500 people and knew the majority of them on a first name basis. He stated that he felt he was someone who was not aloof and believed he was there as a resource. He stated that he sought employees', as well as others', input, which he felt makes people feel good about themselves and the organization. He stated that he was an outgoing person, not an introvert.
Mr. Lauer stated that his experience in budgeting and finance was extensive, in fact, he considered himself a budget and finance expert, noting that the early part of his career was entirely in budget and finance, which he elaborated on. He stated that he was very comfortable with budgets of every sort and had run a $100 million budget in his department. He stated that he had done many financings and had been to rating agencies and prepared rating agency presentations. He stated that he would like to see a long-term financial plan, noting that he felt one should do them with the recognition that they are subject to change, due to the fact that government is not exactly like a business, even though it is tried to be run as such, in terms of efficiency. He stated that the County had to have a road map, to know where it was going. He stated that he would like to do some long-range planning, both on the operating and capital sides, recognizing that the capital side has operating costs involved, both from the standpoint that the County has to staff facilities and maintain them after they are put on line, but also with the knowledge that they would be paid for, in time.
Mr. Lauer stated that he was looking to relocate in the southeast, from Virginia to Florida, and that Lake County would be one of the areas he would seriously consider. He stated that, being it is a growth area, there would be opportunities not only for him, but for his wife, as well, and noted that they would also like to go to a warmer climate, not a colder one.
Mr. Lauer stated that he had read the material that was sent to him, to prepare himself for the interview, and had requested and read the bond perspectus for the industrial revenue bond offering, for the resource recovery facility, noting that they usually have more information in them than any other document, because of disclosure requirements. He stated that he also rented a car and toured through all the municipalities.
Mr. Lauer stated that Prince George's County had 28 municipalities, which was more than anywhere else in the State, and that all the jobs he had involved extensive experience in working with municipalities, from negotiating agreements to coordinating actions, which he elaborated on. He stated that he prided himself in having a close relationship with the municipalities, however, not everything was always agreed to. He stated that it all depended on what the County policy was, but they always tried to work things out. He stated that he was very comfortable working with the municipalities. He stated that he had dealt with elected officials throughout his whole career and did not have a problem dealing with them.
Mr. Lauer stated that he felt the employees of Lake County would see him as a caring person and that he believed it was important to set that example. He stated that he had always practiced meeting with employees and they had always felt free to call him and make an appointment to see him personally. He stated that he believed in giving employees maximum input into assignments and projects. He stated that there needed to be a structure and direction given at the outset of an assignment, so that employees are not floundering, and that he felt the County Manager had to be available for them to ask whether they were on the right track. He stated that he felt it was the responsibility of the County Manager to make sure that they were on the right track, at periodic points, during the process. He stated that he felt the County Manager should insist on high standards, noting that he felt most employees want that and that they want to associate with a professional organization, noting that the more professional the organization the better it was for the employee. He stated that he believed in reward and recognition, noting that the reward did not always have to be monetary, sometimes a pat on the back and "job well done" would be sufficient. He stated that he felt people often lost sight of that type of thing and that employees crave wanting to be rewarded for work well done and sometimes, as managers, they take that for granted and do not do it enough. He stated that he also believed in assembling people in team work, noting that people often learn a surprising amount, when they are thrown together and given a problem to solve.
Mr. Lauer stated that it was almost entirely his responsibility to deal with the budgetary process and prioritization of different programs, which he elaborated on.
Mr. Lauer stated that he participated in a number of organizations in Prince George's County and that he felt it was a crucial part of becoming a fabric of the community, noting that he felt people have to know who the County Manager is and that he felt it was also a way for the County Manager to pick up what was going on in the community, other than from the newspaper or employees. He stated that he would have no difficulty in becoming involved in the community, however, noted that he would have to watch that he did not become so involved that the next day he might have to deal with an issue that made him very uncomfortable, because he was advocating for the issue.
Mr. Lauer stated that he felt economic development was an essential part of every community, if the County wanted to finance the services that the public was asking for, and that he felt it was essential to have a diversified economic development base. He stated that there were a number of ways to do that, which he elaborated on. He stated that economic development was more than just having a new business relocate in the County, that it was also accommodating existing businesses. He stated that the County could enforce the law, but also be accommodating. He stated that he believed economic development needed to be balanced with the environment and that there should be a diversity of economic development, noting that it plays a major role. He stated that, if the County had nothing but subdivisions, it would not prosper, noting that subdivisions ultimately become a drain on services, if the County does not have the commercial and industrial base to go with it, which the County does through good planning, infrastructure decisions, and rolling out the welcome mat.
Mr. Lauer discussed how Prince George's County dealt with growth management, noting that they did what was called water and sewer planning and, within that plan, set aside capacity for commercial, industrial, and residential, within the capacity to put transmission lines in. He stated that the County decided there would be some parts of the County never served by water and sewer. He stated that water and sewer was allocated, based on priorities. He stated that this was one element of growth and the other was what he would call site based growth, noting that Prince George's County was the only county in the State of Maryland to do a wetlands ordinance. He stated that they also did extensive stormwater management, as well as a tree preservation ordinance, that later became State law. He stated that Maryland passed a Growth Management Act in 1992, with the main motivator for that being protection of the Chesapeake Bay.
Mr. Lauer stated that he felt information provided to the Commissioners should all be the same and could be done through a variety of ways. He stated that, in terms of handling an item for the Agenda, it could be done through individual phone calls, or meetings with the Commissioners. He stated that he liked to operate on the basis of no surprises, noting that he did not like to get surprised and he did not feel that the Commissioners would like to either. He stated that he felt it would be suicidal to not keep the Board as informed as they possibly could be, on issues, and that he did not view that as anything that would be strange. He stated that it could be something as simple as picking up the phone, or providing periodic reports - as many and as frequently as the Board desired.
Mr. Lauer stated that he was familiar with the ICMA's Code of Ethics and that he would assume there were probably State Statues that govern ethics, maybe even local ethics, and that he felt the best policy was to accept nothing, other than possibly an invitation to dinner by the local Chamber of Commerce, as a representative of the County. He stated that he felt much of the Code of Ethics involved, or contemplated, situations where the County Manager would make investments in the community, or become financially involved in a business in the community. He stated that it would be a judgment call and that he felt that type of thing needed to be avoided. He stated that he did not feel it necessarily pertained to employees who wanted to moonlight, which he elaborated on. He stated that he felt there should be rules stating what was permissible behavior, with the understanding that the County could not conceivably cover every situation, but it could set forth general rules and, if an individual believed that his situation presented an exception, he or she could raise that fact.
Mr. Lauer then questioned the Board as to whether the County Manager, by ordinance, was the County Budget Officer and, if so, how it worked and what his degree of control was; what happened, with regard to the Deputy County Manager position that was once in place; the fact that the County has had two County Managers within the past five years and whether there would be one or two critical success factors that the Board felt would be instrumental in the next County Manager having a good longevity and being comfortable in the County.
Mr. Lauer was questioned whether Maryland operated under a Sunshine Law, as Florida does, and responded that it does, however, not to the degree that Florida does, which he elaborated on.
Mr. Lauer stated that, should he be offered the job, he would probably not be available to work until the beginning of August, noting that he had a house to sell and other things to consider.
He then thanked the Board for considering him for the position.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 2:35 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a 10 minute recess.
MR. CHARLES C. SADDLER, III - FT. MEADE, FLORIDA
Mr. Saddler stated that he came from a professional management background and that he had had the opportunity to work in several different states and with city, county, and regional governments. He stated that he felt he had seen some of the unique situations that are encountered on a daily basis and that he felt he could bring some insight into addressing those, particularly the relationship between county government and city government. He stated that he felt, in a county such as Lake County, where there are 14 municipalities, intergovernmental coordination was essential and he believed his unique perspectives would be very helpful.
Mr. Saddler stated that a County Manager, or County Administrator, was not the same as a City Manager, because of the Constitutional Officers. He stated that the County Manager has to act as a coordinator, in trying to work with the independently elected Constitutional Officers, to understand the Board's policies and enlist their support and cooperation in achieving those. He stated that the Commissioners are independent in their own constituency, so the County Manager has to work from a common goal and find a consensus, in order to bring them into the Board's policy arena.
Mr. Saddler stated that he would try to look at the final result, or outcome, that the Board desired, work backward, and try to find what the parameters were that each Commissioner wanted to operate within and try to knock some of the rough edges off and find something that everybody could buy into and build a consensus that way. He stated that he had been very successful at that and believed he had some extraordinary talents in doing so. He stated that he felt the County Manager had to be honest, noting that the Commissioners have to have enough trust and confidence in him to tell him what their true feelings are and what pressures they are under. He stated that the basic ingredient was trust and communication between the County Manager and the Board and then the County Manager had to work with the departments and affected public agencies and interest groups, to try to carry forward with the mission, once the Board had come to a consensus.
Mr. Saddler stated that he was taken aback by the County's budget situation, noting that it was a structure he was not used to, and that he would have to make some changes in his approach to things. He stated that he liked to do all things from a team consensus building standpoint and that he liked to put together the budget, or any program the County might be working on, with full knowledge of the entire senior management staff. He stated that all parties needed to know what was going on. He stated that he felt the County Manager had to send out clear and strong signals to all departments and set down guidelines, as to what was going to be the purpose and theme of the budget, what the missions were going to be, and the direction that the County wanted to go, with the budget, and then empower the departments to come up with their spending plan, noting that they know better than anyone else what they need to do, to accomplish the mission, as long as they understand what the mission is. He stated that, after he had received that, reviewed it, and worked in a team concept, to see that the various constituent parts of the budget come together, to make up the whole and move the County in the direction that it wants. He stated that he felt many of those functions could be done, whether they were in the County Manager's Office, or in the Clerk of Court's Office. He briefly discussed the issues of ad valorem and property taxes and growth management and how Ft. Meade handled them, as well as his experience in overseeing office computerization and GIS functions.
Mr. Saddler stated that he was presently serving his second year as President of the Ft. Meade Chamber of Commerce, noting that he tried to be very active in his community and had always tried to be active in whatever community he lived in, because he liked doing it and felt it allowed government to become a little more human, through one on one communication. He stated that, from time to time, situations will develop where the County Manager might have a conflict of interest, because of something involving an organization or group that he is involved with, however, he would need to declare that and not get involved in it, or have the foresight to identify it far enough in advance to steer clear of it. He stated that the County Manager would have to remember that his or her duty was first and foremost to the County, the governing body, and to the population.
Mr. Saddler stated that his idea of economic development was based on what he had seen, however, sometimes things appear a little different, once you get into them. He stated that there were portions of the County that were very strongly tied to Orlando and Orange County and seemed to be sustaining a healthy growth in that regard and other portions of the County that seemed to be developing, based on information he received, in the area of retirement. He stated that, because of the proximity to Orlando, Lake County could, if it so desired, wind up being a suburban area that allows people to provide services to the Orlando area through telecommunications and technology. He stated that he would be greatly concerned about the issue of payrolls for the unskilled jobs, people involved in citrus processing, etc., noting that many of the citrus plants continue to operate in the County, but, when better than half of the produce is being trucked in from the south, he feels that as buildings fall into disrepair and new capital investments are required, the processing plants may move to the south, so it would seem to him that Lake County would need to make considerable efforts to try to develop an unskilled labor market and that would probably be one of the areas that he would be most interested in trying to find an alternative for that labor force.
Mr. Saddler stated that he had never worked under a charter county, however, had worked in a number of charter cities and did not have any particular feelings about the matter, one way or another. He stated that he felt the tone of the entire organization had to start with the County Manager, noting that he would have to set the tone for all county employees and the operation of the organization. He stated that the County Manager would have to let it be known clearly what is and is not acceptable behavior and conduct himself accordingly. He stated that he would have to realize that he and his entire staff were in a gold fish bowl and being viewed by every approach they take to every issue and every constituent transaction they have.
Mr. Saddler stated that he felt very strongly about the ICMA's Code of Ethics, that he believed in them, and that he did not feel as strongly about defending the manager plan and such things, because he believes that, if the County Manager is trying to serve the constituents, the government will take the shape and form that the public wants. He stated that he felt the County Manager needed to empower employees, because they know what they need to do, and will do the job best. He stated that they need to be told that the County should be open, above board, equal, and fair to all that come before the Board and then ensure that that is the way it is conducted. If it is not, to not tolerate it.
Mr. Saddler stated that, if he were selected for the job, the management style that he would use would be one of team work and cooperation. He stated that he learned long ago that "he" cannot do anything, but "we" can do an awful lot. He stated that he realized he cannot do all the things required of county government, he would have to work through other people and no one knows their job better than the people on the front line doing it. He stated that he was truly dedicated to a team approach, noting that he felt the more employees, particularly senior management staff, were involved in the decision making process, the better the decision will be, because it will be approached from a variety of aspects. He stated that he felt, when the senior management staff understands all the factors, they will then become ambassadors and carry the message throughout the rest of the organization, who in turn will carry the message throughout the community. He stated that it is the best, easiest, cheapest form of public education and information that a county can have and it all starts around a conference table.
Mr. Saddler stated that, should he be chosen for the position, he felt that, out of a sense of duty, he should give his County Administrator at least 30 days notice, that he would not want to leave his department in a lurch. He stated that he felt Lake County would be an exciting place to live, as he felt it had an extremely high quality of life and the best of all worlds. He stated that he did not like big cities and that was one of the things he particularly liked about Lake County. He stated that, based on what he saw, coming from an adjacent county, the County has very neat and orderly growth and development. He stated that the County has high environmental standards, a high quality of life, and tremendous opportunities and does not have some of the horrible excesses and problems that other central Florida counties have. He stated that the growth is not to the point that it is managing the County, the County is still in a position to manage growth. He stated that he was impressed with the quality of the lakes in the County. He stated that he saw the County as a very fertile ground for economic development and that was an area that he had been actively involved with, in his entire career, noting that he started in community and economic development and has tried to remain active in it. He stated that he saw Lake County as an area with a lot of possibilities. He stated that he had heard very good comments about the staff and felt he would like very much to work with them.
Mr. Saddler was questioned as to how he would reconcile his want and desire to keep the small town, yet encourage economic development and growth to occur, particularly with the County's Comprehensive Plan eliminating, or reducing, urban sprawl, forcing the growth into the cities, knowing that Lake County is going to grow. He stated that he did not feel it was necessarily the case of having one or the other, noting that he could point to a number of communities where growth had been in the cities, but the cities developed growth patterns and established utilities and the provision of utility service that was phased in, developed, and moved in a variety of different areas, where the County did not end up having unbridled growth. He stated that he felt the engine that fueled development and steered growth had never been a plan, it had always been utilities - the provision of water, sewer and electric service and depending on how those municipal services are planned will be the engine that brings development into the County.
Mr. Saddler stated that he had had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time, during the last several weeks, visiting Lake County, in fact, every city in the County and was very impressed with the community. He stated that it was an area that he felt had a great deal of potential and opportunity.
Mr. Saddler stated that, with regard to dealing with and surviving political changes on the Board, changes are inevitable and he felt it was one of the things that he thrives on. He stated that he was the type of person that liked to deal with the concept of being innovative, in trying to provide services, and felt that he has been fairly good at it. He stated that he did not like to look at things in the traditional approach, that he liked to look at them in a variety of angles and perspectives and try to find a different way of approaching it and felt that that was what one had to do in a changing political environment. He stated that he would hope to prove to the Board that he could be trusted and that he would tell them what he honestly believed, even if they did not want to hear it, that he would do it in a very respectful and courteous manner, and that all the Board will get the same information. He stated that he felt the main thing was trust, noting that, if the Board did not have trust in the chief management officer, it would not work, and that it would have to be a two way street, noting that, if he could not trust the Board, or one of the Commissioner, then he could not do his job. He stated that the way one survives that type of environment is to live it one day at a time.
Mr. Saddler questioned the Board about the status of the search for a County Attorney, noting that he felt the County Manager and the County Attorney must work very closely with one another, and was informed that the interviews for same would be held the following day.
The Board noted that a reception had been planned for the County Manager and County Attorney candidates and their families at the Lake County Judicial Center, to be held at 7:30 p.m.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.
RHONDA H. GERBER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK