You retired in April 2018 after 42 years as City Manager for the City of Fresno. What led you to your role as a consultant for RPLG.Solutions?
I had the opportunity to work closely with [RPLG Founding Partner] Jon Holtzman and his team when Fresno was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. While this was a difficult time for the organization, it did provide us with an opportunity to collaborate on a number of creative and successful strategies that dealt with reducing ongoing expenses and ultimately bought time to address a number of other fiscal and operational challenges. Once I retired, joining RPLG.Solutions was a natural progression due to Jon’s and my chemistry and the opportunity to partner with other city managers and agencies to develop solutions to address different challenges that they are facing.
How would you describe the differences that you’ve experienced transitioning from the public to the private sector?
The difference between the public sector and the private sector is the ability to quickly adapt to change in order to remain competitive. A number of public agencies, due to limited resources, staffing or organizational culture, may find it difficult to effectively manage immediate needs let alone develop strategies needed to address other competing priorities or policy goals. RPLG.Solutions can assist with identifying and developing realistic and sustainable solutions.
What aspect of consulting for RPLG.Solutions do you enjoy the most?
The greatest satisfaction associated with working with the RPLG.Solutions has been the opportunity to partner with our clients to identify concerns or issues that have been impeding progress and to develop realistic strategies to move forward.
What special skills or perspectives do you bring to the team?
During my career with the City of Fresno, I wore a number of hats, all of which contributed to an intimate knowledge and understanding of municipal services and a unique skill set gained through real world experiences.
What are your goals or objectives for your service to RPLG.Solutions and your clients?
My goal, and the rest of the RPLG.Solutions team’s goal, is to provide agencies with the tools and options necessary to implement change and the resources needed to turn a vision into a reality.
What are some of the major challenges facing cities today, and how can RPLG.Solutions help to address those challenges?
Agencies continue to struggle with the cost of simply maintaining existing service levels, which doesn’t leave much for improving public safety, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, green space and trails, infrastructure or public amenities.
For example, before I retired from the City of Fresno, we commissioned an update to the City’s Parks Master Plan. It quantified resources, identified deficiencies and included a menu of funding opportunities. While the sales tax initiative to fund the City’s parks and trails system failed to obtain the two-thirds voter support needed to pass, a new partnership between the City and two local school districts resulted in an agreement to open neighborhood school campuses on the weekend. This increased the amount of green space available to the community without incurring the cost of constructing new facilities. The partnership evolved to provide the public with access to the district’s high school swimming facilities during the summer and to collaboration on other shared concerns, including neighborhood revitalization, public transportation and public safety.
This is the type of work with which RPLG.Solutions is uniquely qualified to assist agencies. We have the knowledge and experience to objectively identify challenges and, more importantly, the creativity needed to develop solutions.
How would you advise a fellow city manager interested in collaborating with RPLG.Solutions?
Given all the competing demands facing a City Manager, there are times when additional support is needed. RPLG.Solutions was created to provide this additional support, as well as realistic solutions and outcomes.
What’s your 30-second elevator pitch on the value of RPLG.Solutions’ services?
RPLG.Solutions is uniquely qualified to provide the short-term support and resources needed to help you address a number of the challenges facing your agency today. We are confident that a partnership with RPLG.Solutions will result in the creation of options that can be implemented in order to effectively address these challenges, which will result in improving the quality of life for the community that you serve.