The secret to the most successful management hires are working proficiency, not expertise, but proficiency across a business. I believe proficiency is a mix of relevant experience, training, and education. When we evaluate the backgrounds of our City Council candidates, we should look to see who has proficiency across the entirety of the city’s business. Who has the relevant experience, training, and education to help our city grow responsibly, maintain our unique culture, protect the safety of our citizens, and ensure we have the ability to care for everyone, especially our seniors and our children.
What is relevant experience? I would argue that we are at a point where we must elect candidates that have worked within, or with, government. Learning to work within bureaucracy, specific language and terms, and the operations of public sector workers is not something that we can wait for a council member to learn; they need relevant experience to be effective in serving your interests from day one.
So, which of my experiences are relevant?
As an infantry officer I needed to tactically lead Marines, but process and make decisions based on information from an enormous number of departments and experts: personnel, intelligence, air support, artillery, logistics, supply, medical… and on and on. Was I an expert in these? No. I relied on other’s expertise and made decisions based on the information I was given. Was I proficient? You bet.
While supporting the Department of Homeland Security, I had to lead and manage both non-union private employees and public sector unionized workers. That required working knowledge of the bargaining agreements and contractual limits. Under my leadership, the program grew from a start up to the largest program in the country within 6 months, vastly increasing the safety of the region under my watch. The rapid growth strained the extent of the contracts and I rapidly learned who to reach out to for questions. Was I an expert? Absolutely not. Was I proficient? I had to be.
I spent a year with a chemical engineering firm that hired me based upon my proficiency with chemistry and water systems. Was I an expert? No. Again, I gathered information from the experts to help with decisions. Was I proficient across the ways in which water systems support power plants and light engineering? You bet.
As a risk management consultant, I deal with an incredible array of industries and corporate cultures, of which no one person could profess to master the intricacies. My understanding of structures, management, and proficiency in processes have allowed me to succeed. I read, I find and listen to experts, and I bring people together to ensure things get done and problems get solved.
Is there a place for specific expertise? You bet. And we should hire the experts for specific projects. Is there a place for broad proficiency? You bet. And we should elect the people with the broad and relevant proficiency to make decisions on city business.
My relevant experience and training has given me the most proficiency in this across these areas and I respectfully ask for your vote on April 10th.