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Sands, fourth applicant, interviewed

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

Colonel Peter Sands was the fourth of five city manager applicants interviewed by the Cape Coral City Council Thursday.
Most recently Sands was Commander, 407th Air Expeditionary Group, Ali Air Base, Iraq, providing airfield support for United States and coalition forces, meeting with diplomats, international officers and high level officials, coordinated airfield operations and logistics for $780 million in aviation assets.
Previous administration experience includes: Chief, combat support division at Langly Air Force Base, Hampton, Virginia; Commander, 319th Mission Support group, Grand Forks Air Force Base, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Deputy Commander, Mission Support Group, McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma, Washington; Deputy Chief, Strategy and Policy Division, United States Strategic Command, Bellevue, Nebraska; Commander, Maintenance, Logistics and Aircraft Generation Squadrons, Air Mobility Command, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Executive Officer to Director, Scott Air Force Base, Belleville, Illinois.
Sands said it’s important to shape the city’s vision when attacking the budget process.
“We can’t just go in there and make it look like Swiss cheese,” Sands said.
Asked by Councilmember Pete Brandt about the most cost effective route for construction projects like roads and utilities, Sands said he felt Design/Bid/Build is the best way to approach these kinds of projects.
When asked how to encourage economic development, he said, “We have to figure out what kind of businesses we want to attract…we need to figure out what this community wants to look like in 10, 15 years.”
Sands said the city could come out of financial trouble in the next few years, but needs to be primed with a vision of what the city wants to be.
He also thinks global warming is going on, though he said he doesn’t know what to expect.
Sands said he just completed building a retirement home with his wife in Cape Coral.
He said he’s supervised upwards of 2,700 people at various air fields. He said he’s been moved from air field to air field based on the needs of that field. He said he was never fired.
“It means there’s trust in you to make the changes that need to be made or institute a particular vision,” Sands said.
Asked by Chris Chulakes-Leetz if he were absolutely prepared for the job, and if he would consider another city job in the future.
Sands said he’s already made up his mind, and has a date set to either retire or become the next city manager.
He said he would accept other government work within the city if asked.
Asked why he wanted the job by Councilmember Derrick Donnell, Sands said, “I do agree there is a small learning curve because I don’t live here every day.”
He said his understanding of the millage rate is that even the rate rose, he still couldn’t cover the city’s budget. He said the key was more cuts, and to look deeper into the budget to find that money.
Donnell asked him about the switch from military management to civilian management, Sands said the transition would not be difficult.
“I have learned through my career to bring the ‘why’ out front,” he said. “I find there’s less resistance that way.”
Sands said he would be willing to cut his pay as an example that cuts across the board need to occur.
“I want to serve the community,” Sands said.