View Full Version : Ideas for new City Manager



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Pete
09-18-2018, 10:53 AM
There will be internal candidates (you can bet Eric Wenger will get strong consideration) but let's hope a wide search is conducted with the best possible selection as the result.

Seems to me there are two general categories to look at: 1) A strong #2 at a bigger city and/or one that has been managed in a successful and progressive way; and 2) A current CM at a smaller city who has shown great promise.


The OKC job is a very good one, so I hope we aim high.

Any particular names that we should be putting forth?

shawnw
09-18-2018, 11:11 AM
Mick Cornett?

:-P

GoThunder
09-18-2018, 11:22 AM
Jeffrey Williams is the planning and development director for Kansas City.

Here's an excerpt from the linked article:

"Williams has 25 years of experience in the fields of urban design, historic preservation and planning for local and county governments. Prior to joining Kansas City's Planning and Development Department, he served as the commissioner of planning and development for the cities of Yonkers and Mount Vernon in New York."

https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2015/03/04/kc-names-new-planning-and-develpment-director.html

Pete
09-18-2018, 11:24 AM
Maybe we should fly Russel Claus back from Australia.

Probably not enough money in the world to get him back here.

shawnw
09-18-2018, 11:24 AM
If we're bringing in a Planner, we should just bring Claus back, how cool would that be?

shawnw
09-18-2018, 11:24 AM
haha jinx

catch22
09-18-2018, 11:26 AM
Ben Wyatt?

LordGerald
09-18-2018, 11:29 AM
Maybe we should fly Russel Claus back from Australia.

Probably not enough money in the world to get him back here.

Claus will never come back until we solve the OKC Public Schools situation. Which, is, never.

bucktalk
09-18-2018, 11:38 AM
Any idea as to salary package for this position?

jonny d
09-18-2018, 11:56 AM
Claus will never come back until we solve the OKC Public Schools situation. Which, is, never.

If he were City Manager, he would have a say in helping it...

Pete
09-18-2018, 12:06 PM
Any idea as to salary package for this position?

Couch was making just over $250K.

Nick
09-18-2018, 01:02 PM
There will be internal candidates (you can bet Eric Wenger will get strong consideration)
Hard pass.

TheTravellers
09-18-2018, 04:35 PM
Hard pass.

Would be a disaster for progressive thinking, no, no, no, no, not Wenger.

ABryant
09-19-2018, 12:44 AM
I dislike nepotism. But I vote for Blair Humphries.

Nick
09-19-2018, 06:37 AM
I dislike nepotism. But I vote for Blair Humphries.
Is he at all interested?

TheSteveHunt
09-19-2018, 08:45 PM
I dislike nepotism. But I vote for Blair Humphries.
Not bad

LuccaBrasi
09-20-2018, 12:52 PM
I have zero insights on this and I'm certainly not advocating it, but I thought there had been chatter in the past that Eric Wenger was being groomed as the successor.

Pete
09-21-2018, 12:54 PM
It's my understanding that Cathy O'Connor has expressed interest in the position.

If that is the case, then we can talk about this all we want but she'll get that job.

shawnw
09-21-2018, 01:05 PM
oh boy

Pete
09-21-2018, 01:10 PM
If O'Connor pursues the city manager job, you have to ask: Why?

She is already paid about the same amount for running the Alliance, manages less than 20 people instead of almost 5,000, only deals with relatively sexy projects like new employers and developments, and gets to do all this outside of open meeting and records laws.


There was a lot of talk that the Alliance was specifically formed to keep her happy since Couch was seemingly entrenched forever (O'Connor was the Asst. City Manager).

Perhaps now she is expected to return that favor to those who were behind the Alliance in the first place?

shawnw
09-21-2018, 01:14 PM
Makes sense, though it's not the fresh perspective we need.

TheTravellers
09-21-2018, 03:26 PM
Good ol' boy network finally makes it into the 21st century by letting women in....

Urbanized
09-21-2018, 05:33 PM
I have no idea if Cathy is interested. Seems mostly lateral to me, with a ton more stress associated. And - as I'm sure could be predicted by many here - I think the work she does at The Alliance is excellent and very important.

But if anyone here wants to know who she is beyond what they have read in this forum, here are a couple of profiles I found via a quick search:

http://www.ionok.com/people-talking-about/cathy-oconnor-a-woman-on-a-mission/


After an almost 30 year career in city government, many close to Catherine O’Connor were surprised to hear she left her post as an Assistant City Manager for the City of Oklahoma City. However, it came as no surprise that she did not steer far away from helping Oklahoma City grow.

Starting her career with the City as a student at the University of Oklahoma, O’Connor knew she wanted a career in the public sector because of her strong desire to make a difference in people’s lives. Over the next 30 years, O’Connor held a variety of positions for the City including Finance Director, Budget Director and Business Manager for the Oklahoma City Fire Department, before becoming an Assistant City Manger in 2001.

“I was extremely fortunate to have begun my career while still an undergraduate,” O’Connor said. “Being able to work for the City while finishing my degree gave me the experience I needed to get on the career path that brought me to where I am today.”

In 2011, O’Connor left the City to head a newly formed organization, the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City. As President of the Alliance, O’Connor also oversees six public entities, including the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, to ensure public assistance for organizations looking to invest in Oklahoma City.

“The cooperative structure of the Alliance allows companies and developers the ability to meet with a single point of contact when getting help within the public sector,” O’Connor said. “We offer a one-stop-shop for those wanting to invest in our city.”

Throughout her career with the City of Oklahoma City, O’Connor was involved with many aspects of the continuing redevelopment and transformation of Oklahoma City.

“Bass Pro Shops was the first economic development project I worked extensively on,” O’Connor said. “It has been truly amazing to see the development of Oklahoma City over the past few years. The transformation of the downtown area is incredible to see, and I’m just thankful to be a part of it.”

As well as helping bring Bass Pro Shops to Oklahoma City, O’Connor also worked on other projects during her tenture with the City, such as securing the Dell campus in southwest Oklahoma City and assisting in the revitalization of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

“It was a hectic time, as the Dell and Skirvin developments overlapped during part of both projects,” O’Connor said. “However, it felt good to see them both completed, especially since they both have such a large presence now in Oklahoma City.”

Originally, Dell wanted to bring only 150 jobs to Oklahoma City and buy an old Walmart as office space. After talks with the city, Dell decided to build the current campus, which now holds around 2100 employees. The campus sits on what used to be a city landfill.

“There were definitely difficulties throughout construction, since the site was previously a landfill,” O’Connor said. “But those challenges were of course taken care of, and now the property is thriving. Being able to increase the amount of jobs Dell brought here was a huge accomplishment for the city.”

More recently, O’Connor has had the opportunity to work on economic development projects, such as the Devon tower.

“When talking about projects I’ve worked on, I have to mention the Devon tower,” O’Connor said. “It has changed the perception of downtown greater than any other economic development project to date. The tower stands over the entire city.”

With construction beginning in late 2009, the Devon tower is in the final stages of construction, with some employees having already made the move to the new office space.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen Oklahoma City’s renaissance firsthand,” O’Connor said. “Oklahoma City has gone through an amazing transformation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement in this ever-changing city through my work with the Alliance.”/

https://okcrotary.club/vision-for-the-economic-future-for-okc-cathy-oconnor/


Ms. Cathy O’Connor is the President of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, a non-profit corporation designed to coordinate public participation in economic development projects. In her role as President of the Alliance, Cathy has been instrumental in furthering development throughout Oklahoma City and promoting job creation. She was the point person on the team that worked to locate both the GE Global Energy Research Facility, and the Boeing Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division in Oklahoma City. She also led the efforts to create the NE Renaissance Urban Renewal Area and Tax Increment Finance district, the Core to Shore Tax Increment Finance District and to develop a Convention Center Hotel to complement the new MAPS 3 Convention Center.

Prior to becoming President of the Alliance, Ms. O’Connor served as an Assistant City Manager with Oklahoma City where she enjoyed an almost 30 year career. Catherine was appointed Assistant City Manager in May 2001 worked to develop the incentives to bring Bass Pro Shops, QuadGraphics and Dell Computers to the Oklahoma City area. She led the City’s team to structure the terms for the redevelopment of the historic Skirvin Hotel. In her role with the Alliance she continues to have responsibility for management of the City’s Tax Increment Financing program; the $75 million Strategic Investment Program, a local economic development incentive fund; and management of the City’s Urban Renewal Authority and economic development trust.

Ms. O’Connor is active in a variety of community organizations and currently serves on the board of directors of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, Commercial Real Estate Women of Oklahoma City, the Beacon Club, Historic Preservation Inc. and the Committee of One Hundred. Ms. O’Connor is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City and Leadership Oklahoma. Cathy was named the Journal Record’s Oklahoma Woman of the Year in 2009 and has also received the Stanley Draper Award for Community Excellence from Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and a Byliner Award for Economic Development from the Association of Women in Communications. She is a member of the Economic Club, the Downtown Rotary Club, the International Economic Development Council, the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

jonny d
09-21-2018, 05:43 PM
Good ol' boy network finally makes it into the 21st century by letting women in....

Moving for the sake of motion?

Midtowner
09-22-2018, 07:00 AM
Moving for the sake of motion?

O'Connor would probably be the best hire. We can bring in outside perspective in hiring subsidiary positions. We'd be smart to have someone who already knows who the players are, how things work, and where the bodies are buried.

pw405
09-22-2018, 07:17 AM
I'll be City Manager. Every choice laid before shall go to a vote of the people - the people of OKCTalk! We'll crowdsource this thing and stop making stupid decisions - like when they striped Tulsa Ave a few months ago, but didn't repair any of the pavement. Striped right through pot holes and everything. Then, a month later, came back, ground away all the new stripes, then painted new stripes about 6" to the left. Road quality is still terrible. Not on our watch, City of OKC!!

Laramie
09-22-2018, 08:35 AM
I'll be City Manager. Every choice laid before shall go to a vote of the people - the people of OKCTalk! We'll crowdsource this thing and stop making stupid decisions - like when they striped Tulsa Ave a few months ago, but didn't repair any of the pavement. Striped right through pot holes and everything. Then, a month later, came back, ground away all the new stripes, then painted new stripes about 6" to the left. Road quality is still terrible. Not on our watch, City of OKC!!

Is that what happens when you forget to cancel or pull a work order?

TheTravellers
09-22-2018, 11:37 AM
O'Connor would probably be the best hire. We can bring in outside perspective in hiring subsidiary positions. We'd be smart to have someone who already knows who the players are, how things work, and where the bodies are buried.

She'd be better than Wenger, at least.

Pete
09-22-2018, 01:02 PM
O'Connor would probably be the best hire. We can bring in outside perspective in hiring subsidiary positions. We'd be smart to have someone who already knows who the players are, how things work, and where the bodies are buried.

IMHO, this is the best possible argument for hiring an outsider.

Urbanized
09-22-2018, 02:22 PM
This hiring is a great opportunity, but also a great challenge. I’m excited to see a new tone set in many areas. I’m really, REALLY hopeful that we see city planning, wise and proactive land use decisions, long-term transit vision, and other critical and historically-lacking topics given more importance. OKC is going to have to find ways to influence growth in education - at the very least in its own metro but even throughout the state by example - at least as far as our state’s structures allow a city to influence this. We have to continue to find ways to encourage encomic diversity and growth in our economy.

A few here might be surprised that I’m also very supportive of a growth in transparency, so long as we don’t do this in a reactionary and uninformed manner that takes us so far beyond what is required by law that it puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other cities - in the metro or region - or to the people with whom we are negotiating. I’m not suggesting we are anywhere near that point right now, but it’s worth paying as much attention to this as we pay to the need for transparency itself.

We all have a social contract with our fellow citizens to not do damage to others in the quest of our own goals. This should include fully understanding something and determining its true value before tearing it down, based on emotion, first impressions, or what someone else says about it here or anywhere. This applies no matter your politics, your income, your education level, your background, your race, your gender.

I agree that we are at an important crossroads with this hire, which could take our city in exciting new directions. That change could come from an outsider, or it could come from a perceived “insider” whose own ideas have not yet been allowed to fully see the light of day and flourish.

All I’m saying is that in the rush to see change, we need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Oklahoma City has some frustrating aspects, sure. But in many ways we’ve also covered more ground in the past two decades than all but a very few cities nationally. Handle with care.

hoya
09-22-2018, 08:02 PM
Please God, let Mike Stoops take this job.

Urbanized
09-22-2018, 09:30 PM
Hahahahaha

Midtowner
09-23-2018, 06:20 PM
IMHO, this is the best possible argument for hiring an outsider.

If you think for a moment that hiring an outsider won't stop the backroom deals and insider investments from happening, you're far more optimistic than I. Regardless of who is getting rich off of the city's momentum, we still have momentum. I'd rather see new best practices brought in from cities like Austin at subsidiary positions. I think you and I are in the same boat that practices such as giving TIF money to virtually every project are detrimental to the city as a whole. I don't think it'll slow down or stop because of who is in charge. Are things really so different anywhere else?

TheSteveHunt
09-27-2018, 09:28 AM
My understanding is that Cathy is a very typical neoliberal, trickle-down economic, pro big-business subsidizing chamber of some types of commerce type.
I could be wrong....or, perhaps she is having a change of heart similar to Holt, knowing that were it pretty F@#$%d up times in this country... any perspectives
on this? Also, does she still say "....alliance will be a one-stop shop.." every 4th sentence when she speaks?

Laramie
10-09-2018, 12:22 PM
Shawnw mentioned our former mayor in an earlier post. Does Mick Cornett possess the qualifications or have the credential to become City Manager?

shawnw
10-09-2018, 02:41 PM
I also asked him directly during the Q&A at his Full Circle book signing if he was interested in the job and he did not at all seem to be.

Laramie
10-09-2018, 05:45 PM
I also asked him directly during the Q&A at his Full Circle book signing if he was interested in the job and he did not at all seem to be.

Okay, Probably looking for a change of scenery other than Oklahoma City Hall.

SuburbanNation
10-10-2018, 08:22 AM
O'Connor would probably be the best hire. We can bring in outside perspective in hiring subsidiary positions. We'd be smart to have someone who already knows who the players are, how things work, and where the bodies are buried.

Agreed!

Pete
11-02-2018, 08:56 AM
City Council will receive the full list of applicants today and then discuss in executive session at their meeting next Tuesday.

Almost 50 people have applied. I have heard that city Finance Director Craig Freeman may be the odds-on favorite.

Nick
11-02-2018, 10:10 AM
City Council will receive the full list of applicants today and then discuss in executive session at their meeting next Tuesday.

Almost 50 people have applied. I have heard that city Finance Director Craig Freeman may be the odds-on favorite.
I know nothing about Mr. Freeman. What are your thoughts on him, Pete? Or anyone else that knows him and can speak to his qualifications?

TheSteveHunt
11-02-2018, 11:27 AM
What I heard from fairly reliable sources is Holt pushed Couch out by limiting his
powers thru various tricks and will now bring in an outsider.

TheTravellers
11-02-2018, 11:33 AM
What I heard from fairly reliable sources is Holt pushed Couch out by limiting his
powers thru various tricks and will now bring in an outsider.

An outsider could be a good thing - fresh perspective, (hopefully) not an engineer, not part of the "in-crowd" and all that...

Pete
11-02-2018, 01:03 PM
What I heard from fairly reliable sources is Holt pushed Couch out by limiting his
powers thru various tricks and will now bring in an outsider.

City Council has final approval and the mayor only has one vote.

Doesn't mean he can't influence who goes up for vote, however.

TheSteveHunt
11-02-2018, 01:34 PM
Just so long as they don't try and bring in someone who wants to make OKC "Vibrant!" im fine with whoever.


An outsider could be a good thing - fresh perspective, (hopefully) not an engineer, not part of the "in-crowd" and all that...

hoya
11-02-2018, 01:34 PM
What I heard from fairly reliable sources is Holt pushed Couch out by limiting his
powers thru various tricks and will now bring in an outsider.

And here you didn't like him.

TheSteveHunt
11-02-2018, 01:42 PM
Who, Couch? That is irrelevant to what I was saying....



And here you didn't like him.

catcherinthewry
11-02-2018, 10:01 PM
..

ChowRunner
11-15-2018, 11:31 AM
Assistant Oklahoma City Manager Dennis Clowers to retire

Dennis Clowers, one of Oklahoma City’s three Assistant City Managers, is retiring effective Feb. 7.

“I plan to stay in the City I’ve lived in since I was 3 years old,” said Clowers. “I also plan to stay involved in our community. There is too much activity here to not be a part of it.”

Clowers announced his retirement this week in a letter to City Manager James D. Couch.



“I’ve known Dennis since long before he was a City employee, and we’ve been lucky to have him as a public servant these last 13 years,” said Couch. “His experience in the private sector helped to broaden our perspective on the leadership team. The City will miss his leadership and dedication, but we’re confident the leaders he has helped develop across our organization will pick up the slack.”

Clowers was hired as the Public Works Director and City Engineer in September 2005. He was promoted to Assistant City Manager in August 2011.

The City’s Assistant City Managers each oversee a portfolio of departments, supervising department directors and reporting to the City Manager. Clowers oversees Airports, the MAPS Office, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Utilities.

Clowers also serves or has served as a trustee, general manager or surrogate trustee of the Water Utilities Trust, Airport Trust, OCMAPS Trust, and the Riverfront Redevelopment Authority.

Before coming to the City of Oklahoma City, Clowers owned an engineering firm from 1982-2005. He worked for other firms from 1973-1982.

He’s a Licensed Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Clowers’ family includes his wife, Suzi; children Brian, John, Maggie and their spouses; and five grandchildren.

The City Manager hires the Assistant City Managers. Couch is retiring effective Jan. 2, so Couch’s eventual successor will hire Clowers’ successor. The City Council is in the process of hiring the next City Manager.

Pete
11-20-2018, 11:24 AM
New City Manager will be announced at 12:45 today.

I'd be surprised if it wasn't Craig Freeman.

Pete
11-20-2018, 11:56 AM
It's official: Craig Freeman will be new City Manager effective Jan. 2nd.

dankrutka
11-20-2018, 12:06 PM
It's official: Craig Freeman will be new City Manager effective Jan. 2nd.

Just a curious question: Has the city manager ever been anyone who wasn't White? Has there been a women in this role? I'm not commenting on the hire as I know nothing about Freeman.

Nick
11-20-2018, 12:16 PM
It's official: Craig Freeman will be new City Manager effective Jan. 2nd.
What are your thoughts on this hire, Pete?

Pete
11-20-2018, 12:33 PM
Press release:

********************

Oklahoma City Council appoints Craig Freeman as next City Manager

The Oklahoma City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Craig Freeman as the next City Manager.

Freeman will succeed City Manager James D. Couch, who has announced his retirement effective Jan. 2. Freeman’s first day as City Manager is the same day.

The City Manager is the chief administrative officer in Oklahoma City’s Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager oversees day-to-day operations, a staff of 4,803 employees and a budget of $1.57 billion.

Freeman, 53, has been the City Finance Director since 2011. He started his career with the City in 1992 as a Management and Budget Analyst, earning promotions to Management and Budget Specialist, Finance Department Business Manager and Budget Director.

Before coming to the City of Oklahoma City, Freeman was a teacher and coach at Windsor Hills Baptist School. He graduated in 1987 from Oklahoma Baptist College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science-public affairs in 1991 and a Master’s degree in urban affairs in 1992, both from the University of Central Oklahoma.

The City Council appointed Freeman after a national search conducted with the Personnel Department. The Council interviewed candidates in an executive session during a special meeting Monday, and considered the candidates in another executive session Tuesday during its regular meeting.

The Council set Freeman’s annual salary at $248,000.

Urbanized
11-20-2018, 01:55 PM
Just a curious question: Has the city manager ever been anyone who wasn't White? Has there been a women in this role? I'm not commenting on the hire as I know nothing about Freeman.

Yes. Terry Childers was the first African American City Manager. 1986-89.

dankrutka
11-20-2018, 02:09 PM
Yes. Terry Childers was the first African American City Manager. 1986-89.

Thanks. I increasingly ask that question. I know it bothers me that in OU's almost 130-year history that there has never been a president who was not a white male because I know there have been so many quality candidates who did not get a shot. Moreover, I really think having a diversity of people (by race, gender, SES, sexual orientation, religion, language, age; in this case, by transporation lifestyle - commuter, car-less, etc.) in any organization enhances the understanding, perspectives, and connections for the organization.

It does appear that this national search attracted an Oklahoma lifer (based on education and jobs), which is not necessariy ideal considering OKC needs outside perspectives in my opinion. But, maybe he's open-minded and understands quality urban development. Anyone know his views on walkability, urbanism, etc.? I just hope he's not another subruban commuter.

Pete
11-20-2018, 02:16 PM
The City did not use an outside search firm and therefore it definitely was not a national search.

The entire process was handled by the city's personnel department. Some external candidates did apply but the majority of the final 9 were current city employees.

shawnw
11-20-2018, 02:18 PM
Do we know the names of the other applicants?

gopokes88
11-20-2018, 02:24 PM
Thanks. I increasingly ask that question. I know it bothers me that in OU's almost 130-year history that there has never been a president who was not a white male because I know there have been so many quality candidates who did not get a shot. Moreover, I really think having a diversity of people (by race, gender, SES, sexual orientation, religion, language, age; in this case, by transporation lifestyle - commuter, car-less, etc.) in any organization enhances the understanding, perspectives, and connections for the organization.

It does appear that this national search attracted an Oklahoma lifer (based on education and jobs), which is not necessariy ideal considering OKC needs outside perspectives in my opinion. But, maybe he's open-minded and understands quality urban development. Anyone know his views on walkability, urbanism, etc.? I just hope he's not another subruban commuter.

So basically if some has a different skin color than white, or is a woman they must have different idea just based on that, rather than listening and asking if they actually have different ideas.

We need more checking the box diversity, not actual diversity of ideas. Got it.

dankrutka
11-20-2018, 03:10 PM
So basically if some has a different skin color than white, or is a woman they must have different idea just based on that, rather than listening and asking if they actually have different ideas.

We need more checking the box diversity, not actual diversity of ideas. Got it.

Not at all what I said, but thanks for misrepresenting my post.

However, if the people you hire are consistently from the exact same demographic group then you might ask yourself why. Of course, there is a diversity of experiences and perspectives within groups too. No one said that there isn’t. But to dismiss the idea that race or gender play a role is to justify hiring a good ol’ boy network of hiring.

gopokes88
11-20-2018, 03:34 PM
Not at all what I said, but thanks for misrepresenting my post.

However, if the people you hire are consistently from the exact same demographic group then you might ask yourself why. Of course, there is a diversity of experiences and perspectives within groups too. No one said that there isn’t. But to dismiss the idea that race or gender play a role is to justify hiring a good ol’ boy network of hiring.

Oh my bad. I just thought we judged people based on character not skin color but I guess it the opposite. Carry on.