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Council interviews Schwing

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

Current city manager Carl Schwing is now being interviewed.
Schwing’s previous experience includes: Assistant City Manager/Chief of Staff, City of Cape Coral, Cape Coral, Fla; Director of Community Development, City of Cape Coral, Cape Coral, Florida; Municipal Consulting, St. Petersburg, Florida; City Manager, City of St. Pete Beach, St. Pete Beach, Florida; City Manager, City Manager, City of Richmond Heights, Richmond Heights, Missouri; City Manager, City of St. John, St. John, Missouri; Assistant to the City Manager, City of Berkeley, Berkeley, Missouri.
Councilmember Pete Brandt asked Schwing his view on constitutional interpretation. Brandt asked this question of both Gary King and Mark Lauzier, two applicants who were interviewed earlier this afternoon.
Schwing answered by saying, “I believe I’m a traditionalist … I believe the tenents have worked for all these hundreds of years and I don’t see us making any changes.”
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said both Gary King and Carl Schwing have been held to “higher standards” than the other candidates.
Chulakes-Leetz asked if Schwing knowingly let false information be presented to the previous city council. He said he did not know if any of the information was false, but if he knew, he would have reported it to then manager Terry Stewart.
Schwing said it was crucial to work with the unions, who he said will need to see a “nexus” between budget issues and how they can contribute.
“I would prefer for us to share the discussion with unions in the compensation package area,” he said. “I believe we’re getting close to where we will not be able to maintain the level of service we are currently.”
Schwing said he’s more concerned about the 2012 budget cycle then the one than this year’s cycle.
Councilmember Bill Deile asked about the city not being “business friendly”, an answer Schwing gave on one his council submitted questions.
Schwing said the issue is not just permitting, but also dealing with government, zoning issues, and impact fees.
Schwing said if the city can ease permitting fees and create a higher sense of communication among potential business owners and the city itself, it might foster a greater partnership.
“We can change laws and make it easier to permit in the city,” Schwing said. “Our goal needs to be not to say no, but here are other options to get you to the same place.”
Schwing said there’s opportunities for all governments in Lee County to work together and share some of the cost burdens. He said he’s spoken with Karen Hawes, Lee County manager, about sitting down to monthly lunches, along with other managers, to get “on the same page”.
“It does not make a lot of sense for city’s to provide the same service…when there’s opportunities to share back and forth,” Schwing said.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell asked him why he thinks there’s low morale among city employees. He said there’s just too much uncertainty, and people don’t feel there’s any support from city council.
He said most of the employees feel they are in a career, and not just a job. They want recognition not just negativity.
“Given the climate were in right now, employees don’t know if they’re going to have a job in few months,” Schwing said. “There’s that uncertainty.”
Schwing said he’s going to present city council with a balanced budget in July.
He was ssked if he takes the “bull by the horns” by Councilmember Erick Kuehn.
Schwing said the magnitude and severity of the issue dictates his method.
Schwing also said if need be, he would set the example by being the first person to cut their pay.
He also said his emergency management skills would be crucial to the city, especially with the threat of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, looming.