SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE
JANUARY 5, 2013
THE SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING of the City of Port Orange was called to order by Mayor Allen Green at 8:00 a.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call: Present: Councilman Bob Ford
Councilman Drew Bastian
Councilman Dennis Kennedy
Vice Mayor Donald Burnette
Mayor Allen Green
Also Present: Shannon Lewis, Assistant City Manager
Margaret T. Roberts, City Attorney
Robin Fenwick, City Clerk
Robert Zicker, Human Resources Director
RECEPTION WITH COUNCIL
A light breakfast was provided to the City Manager Candidates, City Council, Staff, and the public prior to the start of the individual interviews.
CITY MANAGER INTERVIEWS
4. 8:30 – 9:30 - Stephen Cottrell
· Background check information
Mayor Green advised Mr. Cottrell that Council has reviewed all background information and his application.
Councilman Ford is interested in Mr. Cottrell’s opinion in working for smaller cities vs. medium to large cities like Port Orange. Mr. Cottrell explained his hands on experience because he has worked for smaller cities. Infrastructures are typically similar, problems are similar, capital improvement projects are similar to him. He usually answers his own phones, writes his own memos and letters. He likes that it allowed him to be accessible. He has enjoyed the profession for more 25 years.
Vice Mayor Burnette thanked Shannon Lewis and Staff for their work facilitating the interviews. He asked Mr. Cottrell what he did to prepare for the interviews. Mr. Cottrell provided details of his preparation.
Councilman Bastian asked how Mr. Cottrell would address the City’s aging infrastructure. Mr. Cottrell said he would first look at and address the water system, then roads.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Cottrell what his opinion is on the City’s most pressing issue. Mr. Cottrell advised that he knows of several issues but needs more information to be able to prioritize the issues. He wants to restore the creditability of the Staff. He wants the Staff to want to come to work and be happy to work for the City of Port Orange. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Cottrell what succession plan he would implement. Mr. Cottrell said he would work with HR to make sure people are where they want to be and doing something they are happy doing. He is not a micromanager. He believes training is important, along with policies and procedures being in place.
Councilman Bastian asked how Mr. Cottrell would address the current internal controls issues. Mr. Cottrell said it seems that part of the problem appears to be complexity and he would like to review other systems of billing that may be less complex and less prone to mistakes. He doesn’t know the employees involved so he can’t speak to that part of the equation.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Cottrell how he would hire a Finance Director. Mr. Cottrell explained his criteria and would like to evaluate in-house employees as well.
Councilman Ford asked how Mr. Cottrell would produce cultural change to move the City forward as it grows. Mr. Cottrell explained some differences as to why employees come to work for the City. He believes if the management level of the organization is happy and passionate about their jobs, that passion and happiness would filter down. Councilman Ford asked for Mr. Cottrell’s union experience. Mr. Cottrell doesn’t understand why unions came into organizations in the first place. He has had minimal experience with unions because the City’s he has worked with didn’t have unions or there were no issues with the unions.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Cottrell what his biggest mistake was in his career and what did he learn. Mr. Cottrell said he won’t comprise his ethics for a Mayor or Council/Commission. He explained a project in Plant City about fiber optics installation.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Cottrell to explain his experience with emergency management. Mr. Cottrell said he hasn’t worked in a city during a hurricane but has worked with emergency management teams to ensure plans are in place in the event of a disaster.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Cottrell about his management style and conflict resolution. Mr. Cottrell explained that he has had to resolve conflicts on his own.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Cottrell to explain his experience working on employee morale. Mr. Cottrell provided details of his time at Bellaire. He is not a proponent of evaluations tied to pay increases; however, he believes evaluations are important.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Cottrell how he would address the unfunded liability. Mr. Cottrell said communicating with the unions and employees is needed because the unfunded liability is a contractual obligation.
Councilman Ford asked how he would handle transparency issues. Mr. Cottrell said transparency is very important but thinks the reports may be too complicated. He would encourage employees to share their ideas of more efficient ways. The worst statement to him is “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Councilman Ford asked how Mr. Cottrell engages citizens to be a part of their community. Mr. Cottrell said HOA’s are huge for that, volunteerism, and he would support a citizen’s finance board.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked where Mr. Cottrell sees the City in two years and where he sees himself in five years. Mr. Cottrell hopes to be with the City of Port Orange for at least five years. He wants to help the City grow in the next two years.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Cottrell about his experience with grants. Mr. Cottrell explained how he has used grants to make up his own salary at every city he has worked. He works towards independency rather than dependency for the cities he works.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Cottrell for his feelings on where technology can be improved. Mr. Cottrell explained his previous experience with crunching numbers through software. He suggests utilizing that type of software with the City’s water billing and meter reading that would have found the issues sooner and easier.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Cottrell to give a closing statement and discuss Riverwalk or redevelopment.
Mr. Cottrell provided his thoughts on Riverwalk. He thanked Council for the opportunity to interview. He looks forward to serving the community. He has a big picture point of view and has some extraordinary ideas from time to time that he will bring to Council.
Mayor Green thanked Mr. Cottrell, as did all Council Members. Vice Mayor Burnette thanked Staff for their work.
Break 9:34 a.m.
Re-convened 9:45 a.m.
5. 9:45 – 10:45 - James Hanson
· Background check information
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Hanson what he sees as the City’s most pressing issue. Mr. Hanson believes the water issues but he can’t provide an exact resolution without further information. He feels better management reporting systems would help. He has worked with water billing for 37 years. He also feels the rate structure and rate table is too excessive. Staff needs to know that reviewing the reports timely is important. He will not be a micromanager, but will ask department heads a lot of questions. He believes a meter replacement program is needed. He would like to investigate more.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Hanson to explain how he was able to eliminate property taxes for residents. Mr. Hanson provided details of how he and staff were able to pull industrial companies to the city and elected to use the City’s electric utility. The electric utility charges replaced the majority of the real property taxes, which was reduced to a quarter mill under his tenure.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Hanson for his opinions of moving Riverwalk forward. Mr. Hanson said more information is needed but feels the City has some flexibility with the resources available.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Hanson how he engages citizens in the community as well as in the political process. Mr. Hanson said the best way is to provide a sense of community; have special, unique events; and parks and community centers also help. He believes the transparency and the information available on the website helps citizen engagement.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Hanson to explain his experience with pension funds. Mr. Hanson provided details of the changes made in Atlantic Beach pension funds with the police union and the employee union.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Hanson to explain how he would improve the ISO rating and to explain his TQM project. Mr. Hanson provided details of improving the ISO rating by looking at where points were lost and reassess those areas. He also provided details on the TQM project with the city yards.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Hanson about his management style and conflict resolution. Mr. Hanson said he adapts his management style to the group he’s working with and what the issues might be from time to time. He feels the same about conflict resolution; it depends on the conflict and the people involved. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Hanson what is timetable is for a start date if he were chosen. Mr. Hanson said his contract with Atlantic Beach provides a 30 day notice to them.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Hanson for a five year plan for Port Orange. Mr. Hanson said there is still a lot to learn and most of the planning comes from the elected official. He’d also address the empty positions and the upcoming retirements.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Hanson about his criteria for hiring a Finance Director. Mr. Hanson would gather a team for interviewing. He also discussed the criteria he would look for in a Finance Director.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Hanson how he would work with the employees to change the organizational culture and move them more into his management style. Mr. Hanson said he believes this is a time of change for employees and employees are a bit nervous. He would talk to a lot of employees within the first 180 days of employment. Councilman Ford asked Mr. Hanson about natural disaster and preparation. Mr. Hanson provided details of his experience with the 2004 hurricanes and the necessary preparation.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Hanson about the issues with Atlantic Beach and his communication style with Council. Mr. Hanson explained that Atlantic Beach’s Council has had changes recently and he feels he has accomplished all he can with the City. He meets with most Council Members weekly or bi-weekly and holds pre-agenda meetings.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Hanson about his experience with expanding parks. Mr. Hanson provided details on a marsh-front preserve in Atlantic Beach.
Councilman Kennedy had no further questions.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Hanson to expand on his work obtaining public parking at the beach. Mr. Hanson provided details.
Mr. Hanson said he has a strong interest in this community. He is impressed with the Staff. He believes the issues facing the City are workable. He would be proud to work for Port Orange.
Mayor Green thanked Mr. Hanson for his time and interest, as did all Council Members.
Break 10:44 a.m.
Reconvened 11:00 a.m.
6. 11:00 – 12:00 - Alfred Minner
· Background check information
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Minner if he has any ideas on CRA’s. Mr. Minner provided details of his experience with CRA’s and his thoughts on Riverwalk.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Minner what his criteria is in a Finance Director. Mr. Minner would look for someone who has utility experience, a calming person, someone with creditability, team player, someone who works well with the City Manager.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Minner about his experience with natural disasters. Mr. Minner explained the 2004 hurricane season in Fort Meade and his management style during disasters.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Minner what he sees as the most pressing issue. Mr. Minner said the finance issues for sure. He wants to fix it without reacting. He thinks Council needs to step back, evaluate the issues, and then fix them with a plan. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Minner why he is looking to move to a new City and how much notice he must give Sebastian. Mr. Minner said Port Orange has a good reputation around the State. He also wants to challenge himself with a larger community. He must give Sebastian a 30 day notice.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Minner about his experience with the unfunded liability. Mr. Minner has experience with unfunded liability and working with unions. He believes fixing the unfunded liability would include discussing the change of benefits with employees and revenue diversification.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Minner where he sees the City in two years and himself in five years. Mr. Minner wants to see the billing issue behind the City, CBA’s complete in 2014, utility improvements, public works improvements, and long term projects are planned within two years. He brings a lot of succession ideas. He wants to serve the City for a long while.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Minner to discuss his experience with personnel issues and succession planning. Mr. Minner explained his past experiences and believes that his management style has built trust between Councils and employees. Councilman Ford asked Mr. Minner about community engagement in the community and in the political. Mr. Minner believes dealing with engaged citizens with honesty, value, transparency, and admitting strengths and weaknesses. Tapping citizens who are not engaged doesn’t have an answer, specifically. Council and Staff must build relationships to help engage citizens.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked how Mr. Minner will get involved in the community. Mr. Minner wants to get to know Council, get to know the schools, he will get involved with the Chamber and community through volunteering.
Councilman Bastian asked how Mr. Minner would effectively communicate with Council, Staff, and the community. Mr. Minner said weekly verbal communication is his norm. He would also return phone calls, have an open door, and discuss everything with Council and Staff. He likes personal, one on one communication over email.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Minner to discuss technology infrastructure. Mr. Minner believes the City is ahead of some cities with most technology; however, behind in some of the technology. He would need to learn more to answer it fully. Councilman Kennedy asked about his thoughts on recreation and sports. Mr. Minner believes they are extremely important but seem to be the first to be cut. He will take direction from Council.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Minner about his thoughts on renewable energy and federal assistance. Mr. Minner doesn’t believe the federal government is doing enough to use renewable energy. He feels it is important for the City to move in the direction.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Minner why Council should hire him. Mr. Minner said he can provide aspiration, a younger view to help guide Council, long tenure, and high energy.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Minner about his relationship with other cities and counties. Mr. Minner believes intergovernmental cooperation is very important. He feels there is more commonality with cities, but counties work a little differently.
Mayor Green asked if Mr. Minner would make any changes to the organizational chart. Mr. Minner said he’s not sure yet.
Mr. Minner said he is very open, consistent, and candid. If he is hired, Council will see the same person then as they see now. He will ask Council Members who he needs to get to know in the community, as well as Staff members. He will build relationships first, then re-build creditability in Finance, and work for ways to build more transparency. He provided other goals he would like to work with Council to achieve. He thanked Council.
Councilman Ford thanked Mr. Minner for his interest and ideas, as did Mayor Green and all Council Members.
Lunch Break with Council – 12:01 p.m.
Reconvened at 1:00 p.m.
7. 1:00 – 2:00 – Wayne Saunders
· Background check information
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders what he sees at the City’s most pressing issue. Mr. Saunders said the finance issues need to be handled and get the confidence of Council and the community back.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders why he chose to apply in Port Orange. Mr. Saunders believes he can help move the City forward. Port Orange is a great city. In his research of the community, he found several items that he feels he can help the city accomplish.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders to discuss his time with Clermont. Mr. Saunders provided details of the issues with the police department in Clermont.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Saunders what the next level is for Port Orange in his opinion. Mr. Saunders believes the plan for Port Orange is set and is a good plan. He sees Port Orange moving to the next level of that plan, moving the plan forward. Councilman Ford asked Mr. Saunders to discuss his CRA experience. Mr. Saunders believes patience is needed. The economy is not quite ready for large City development in CRA’s.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders what his criteria is for hiring a Finance Director. Mr. Saunders said the education is needed to do the job, plus ownership of the community and system. The position needs to be filled with a person who can work with the City Manager to work the details.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders to discuss his management style. Mr. Saunders believes he has a modified participatory style. He is firm but fair. He believes in teamwork. He asks for input from senior staff in implementing procedures.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders about succession planning. Mr. Saunders said in the first month he would evaluate employees and develop a succession plan. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders about future technology in Port Orange. Mr. Saunders said he hasn’t spent a lot of time looking into technology in Port Orange but he believes it is ahead of others. He has some information about fiber optics he would like to bring to the City.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders about unfunded liability. Mr. Saunders doesn’t have a full answer but pension reform is a must.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders about Riverwalk. Mr. Saunders believes the economy will turn around and investors and developers will come.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Saunders about his experience with an east/west divide in the City. Mr. Saunders said the City created a CRA for downtown areas to generate funds for the area. They first did a beautification project. They provided matching funds to businesses. The City of Clermont worked with their code officers and board to bring the businessowners up to code along SR 50, which is similar to the US 1 corridor. Councilman Ford asked Mr. Saunders about his experience with natural disasters. Mr. Saunders said they were prepared during the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes. Readiness comes before the storm.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders why he is the best fit for Port Orange. Mr. Saunders said he has successfully dealt with the same issues Port Orange is currently dealing with, including parks and recreation and finance.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders what impresses him most about Port Orange and his availability. Mr. Saunders said he is impressed with the size of the community while still keeping the small town feel. He can start any time.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders to discuss how he sees youth sports and other recreation events and the fees for such. Mr. Saunders said in Clermont, they made sure to have the ability to service their citizens first and secondly, have a revenue source for outside tournaments and events. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders how he would make the budget reports less cumbersome and more friendly for departments. Mr. Saunders provided details of how Clermont handles their budget reports. They utilize summaries for the majority of people to review but they have the more detailed levels for those interested as well.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders how he will help the City grow while preserving the history. Mr. Saunders said he has utilized the community and a historical society in Clermont to help preserve the history of the city.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders where he sees the City will be in two years and himself in five years. Mr. Saunders said he would help the City resolve the water meter issues and redevelop confidence in Staff. In five years, he’d like to be here talking about the successes and planning for the next five years.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Saunders about the city to city relationships as well as the city to county relationships. Mr. Saunders believes they are both important to accomplish goals and resolve local issues. Councilman Ford asked if Mr. Saunders believes Council can keep the tax rate low. Mr. Saunders said yes, it comes to their vote and their priorities. Council must listen to the citizens and their priorities.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Saunders to discuss his biggest mistake and what he learned from the mistake. Mr. Saunders said he hired the wrong person in a leadership position early in his career. He learned to not base his selections on someone else’s opinion. He needs to do his own homework.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Saunders how he has dealt with employee morale. Mr. Saunders provided details of how Clermont has recognized employees for a job well done. He has provided training to all employees and made sure they have the tools to do their jobs.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Saunders what he would hope to accomplish in the first 100 days other than dealing with the finance department and water issues. Mr. Saunders said getting to know the Staff and Council. It will be a learning process for him so that he is educated enough to make any necessary changes.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Saunders about the meter problems in Clermont. Mr. Saunders advised that there was no problem, just a meter change out. Mayor Green asked if Clermont is a full service city. Mr. Saunders said yes, he has dealt with police, fire, employee unions throughout the years.
Mr. Saunders thanked Council for the opportunity to interview. He believes he brings the leadership and experience to lead the City and get the job done. He is an innovative problem solver. He is a dedicated, honest, and calm team player. He thanked Staff for their work.
Council Members thanked Mr. Saunders.
Break 1:57 p.m.
Reconvened 2:15 p.m.
8. 2:15 – 3:15 – Gregory Kisela
· Background check information
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Kisela what he sees as the most pressing issue for Port Orange. Mr. Kisela said there isn’t just one issue; there are a few. The finance issues are one, but there’s also CRA issues, updating of recreation facilities, and succession planning.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Kisela what he will look for in a finance director. Mr. Kisela said he will look for someone who is strong in municipal financing, as well as a good communicator in layman terms.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Kisela about neighborhood preservation ideas. Mr. Kisela said Fort Lauderdale supported the HOA coalition. They also helped some of the neighborhoods through grants and sweat equity.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Kisela what can be done regarding the US 1 corridor and east side decline. Mr. Kisela said he is very interested in this position because of his experience with CRA’s and redevelopment. Councilman Ford asked how to get Eastport filled. Mr. Kisela doesn’t believe there is a magic bullet, but timing.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Kisela what he sees as the greatest asset. Mr. Kisela said there are so many; the reputation of the City is great. The City has properly planned; the infrastructure is there.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Kisela about the failing redevelopment areas in a city he managed. Mr. Kisela explained the Fort Lauderdale project, as well as one in Destin.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Kisela what he can bring to Port Orange. Mr. Kisela explained his experience with CRA’s and redevelopment and his ability to work with Council and push them to work their plans.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Kisela to talk about his ideas on the transition from growth to maintenance. Mr. Kisela believes there is still a lot of growth available especially for commercial. He talked about his experiences. Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Kisela to talk about his ideas for recreation. He suggests looking into a general obligation bond for recreation facilities.
Councilman Bastian asked Mr. Kisela about his experiences with natural disasters. Mr. Kisela said his experience started with Hurricane Andrew in Fort Lauderdale in 1992. He also dealt with storms in the City of Destin in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis hit in 2006. Hurricane Katrina also produced extra citizens after Hurricane Katrina because they had nowhere to go. He also experienced the BP disaster. It was devastating to economic development.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Kisela where he sees Port Orange in two years and where he will be in five years. Mr. Kisela said the first issues would be a Finance Director and fix the water billing issues. He would work on getting a consensus from Council and the residents relating to Riverwalk. He’d also work on pension reform, water/sewer infrastructure, and succession planning.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Kisela to talk about his thoughts on changing organizational cultures. Mr. Kisela believes turnover can provide a “cleansing” of the department, in that, it shows what training is needed and where there might be weaknesses. New people will provide the future direction. Councilman Ford asked for Mr. Kisela’s thoughts on how to help employees move from a small organization to a large organization. Mr. Kisela said understanding the needs of the employees and customers are important. Benchmarking is critical. He believes the organization must change to a customer service organization.
Vice Mayor Burnette asked Mr. Kisela how he stays current and informed on changes from the federal and state governments. Mr. Kisela said staying involved in the ICMA organization, attending conferences, and webinars.
Councilman Bastian asked how Mr. Kisela will communicate with Council, Staff, and the community. Mr. Kisela said he is a big proponent of transparency. He doesn’t do a lot of emailing. He prefers verbal communication.
Councilman Kennedy asked Mr. Kisela to talk about how he handles conflict resolution. Mr. Kisela believes communication is very important and usually helpful.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Kisela to talk about his experience in meter replacement programs. Mr. Kisela provided details. The City decided to hire a private company to read meters. The company is still (20 years later) reading the meters.
Mr. Kisela thanked Council for the interview process. He is excited for this opportunity. He brings experience from the private and public sectors. He believes Port Orange is a first class organization and is encouraged to help make it a better place.
Council Members thanked Mr. Kisela for his interest and ideas.
Break for 15 minutes; reconvened at 3:30 p.m.
first written vote is to eliminate Stephen Cottrell 5-0.
Second written vote is to eliminate Wayne Saunders 3-2.
Third vote written is to eliminate James Hanson 3-2.
Final two candidates are Alfred Minner and Gregory Kisela.
Council Members provided their brief thoughts on both candidates.
Final vote is to offer the position to Gregory Kisela 5-0.
Gregory Kisela addressed Council and thanked them for their confidence.
Contract negotiation times were discussed. Mayor Green and Margaret Roberts will meet with Mr. Kisela on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. City Clerk will prepare and post the appropriate Notice.
Mayor Allen Green
Robin Fenwick, City Clerk