NEW PORT RICHEY — June 2 is scheduled to be the first day on the job for the next New Port Richey city manager, Debbie L. Manns.
Library Director Susan Dillinger has filled in for about a year and a half as interim city manager after the sudden departure of John Schneiger in October 2012.
The city hired Manns this month and hope to wrap up contract negotiations in the near future. The city offered $115,000 for the position.
While residents will have to wait a bit more than a month to meet Manns here, her resume provides some clues about the new city manager.
“My career in local government spans over 25 years and four municipalities,” Manns wrote in a Feb. 21 introductory letter to city officials.
Manns pledges to be a “hard working woman fully committed to the advancement of your city, as well as respect for all citizens, cooperation and teamwork, innovation and quality.”
Her “core competencies” are planning, economic development, redevelopment and community development. “My strengths are in the areas of labor relations, strategic planning, organizational development and financial management,” she added.
“I learned the basis of good government with administering planning and zoning at the city of Wayne, Michigan,” Manns explained. She became city manager for Monroe, Mich. Before then she was Southgate, Mich, city administrator.
“I took a leap of faith to the city of Clayton, Ohio, which was newly incorporated at the time and embraced the chance to help craft an emerging community,” Manns observed. She has served as assistant city manager there since September 2006.
During her tenure at Clayton, she helped secure a distribution facility with 1.5 million square feet, among other economic development projects.
Of special note could be Manns' experience developing a rental inspection and pre-sale inspection programs to maintain quality of neighborhoods. New Port Richey City Council has agreed to pursue rental inspection proposals again.
Manns established a “How Great Can We Be” campaign in Clayton. New Port Richey has launched its community pride program with the logo, “I Am New Port Richey.”
Manns prepared a parks and recreation master plan for Clayton. New Port Richey is developing plans to overhaul and expand Sims Park.
A Clayton employee wellness program achieved 85 percent participation, Manns pointed out.
Her experience also includes a streetscape improvement project.
Manns' good track record for results are impressive, Councilwoman Judy DeBella Thomas said during the April 14 special meeting when Manns was hired.
The approach of Manns reminds Councilman Bill Phillips of Gerald Jerry Seeber, who was city manager from 198 until 2004.