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Cape council moves on the last interviewee

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

Cape Coral City Council has moved on the last of five city manager applicants, Charles R. Oliver.
Most recently city manager of Surprise, Arizona, overseeing 850 employees and a budget of approximately $300 million, Olliver also has some local tenure.
His previous administration experience includes city manager, Surprise, Arizona; city manager, Peoria, Illinois; city manager, Greenville, South Carolina, Chief Executive Officer hired to consolidate the city of Augusta, GA and Richmond County, GA into the Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government; assistant county manager/assistant for Special Projects, Polk County, Florida; assistant to the county administrator, Lee County, Florida; and director of Program Support for the City of Richmond’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Richmond, Virginia.
Locally, Oliver was involved in land acquisition for the Mid Point Bridge and for Hammond Stadium during his time with Lee County administration.
Oliver told city council Thursday he has experience with labor negotiations in Illinois.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail wanted to know how Oliver works with city staff.
“My management style tends to be firm but fair,” Oliver said.
Oliver said he believes his ability to be a stabilizing force is one of his strongest features as a manager.
Oliver thinks Cape Coral’s recovery could be slower than other areas, saying there will be people interested in purchasing a home in the city, but will have to sell off their homes in other cities. He said the country, as a whole, might have to heal before Cape Coral sees positive change.
“Cape Coral is going to be a lag area coming out of it,” he said.
Oliver said he believes in performance based pay as well as progressive discipline.
He said he previously dismissed employees for theft, unauthorized internet use, and not being able to successfully get along with other coworkers.
He said he could start work within 30 days.
Oliver said he thinks Cape Coral needs a “hook”, something that would distinguish the city from surrounding cities, if not other cities in the state.
He cited different ideas he’s had in the past, from building office towers attached to the Mid Point Bridge when constructed, or building a resort and tram to a mountain top in Arizona.
Asked by Councilmember Pete Brandt about the Arizona immigration law (where Oliver was the city manager is Surprise, Arizona, and current resident), Oliver said, “It’s difficult for other people in parts of the country to understand the challenges Arizona has … something needed to be done because the federal government wasn’t doing it.”
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz asked why Oliver included cartoons from local papers into his application packet. Oliver said they were complimentary of his service.
Oliver said it doesn’t appear there is much difference between Cape Coral of today and the Cape Coral he lived in before, other than more people and more buildings. But it’s that challenge, to make Cape Coral into a viable city for the 21st Century is an interesting and intriguing challenge.
With family in the area, and as close as Tampa, he said the job offers him the chance to marry two very important things in his life.
“It offers a good combination for professional and personal satisfaction,” he said.