In recognition of ICMA members’ years of public service, these members were presented 45-Year Service Awards in 2021.
John Bennie, chief executive officer in Greater Dandenong City Council, has spent his 45-year career in Victoria, Australia, serving seven municipalities. He began his career as a graduate engineer for Doncaster and Templestowe City Council (1976-1980) and went on to positions as works engineer (1980-1988), deputy city engineer (1988-1990), and city engineer (1990-1994) with Hawthorn City Council; district manager with Boroondara City Council (1994-1995); group manager, service planning, with the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (1995-1999); and director of engineering services and later chief executive officer with Manningham City Council (2000-2006).
Russ Blackburn has served as city manager in Port St. Lucie, Florida, since 2016. He began his career in the private sector (1974-1976) before taking a position as a program analyst with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, South Carolina (1976-1977). He went on to serve as director of planning and grants administration in Beaufort, South Carolina (1977-1982); community development administrator in Charleston, South Carolina (1982-1984); assistant county administrator in Greenville County, South Carolina (1984-1987), Lee County, Florida (1987-1989), and Loudoun County, Virginia (1989-1997); county administrator in Martin County, Florida (1997-2005); and city manager in Gainesville, Florida (2005-2015).
Richard M. Brown, ICMA-CM, has been town administrator in Somerset, Massachusetts, since 2015. Previously, he served as town administrator in Freetown, Massachusetts (2012-2014), technical specialist with FEMA (2010-2011), city manager in East Providence, Rhode Island (2006-2010), and city manager in New London, Connecticut (1992-2006). In Petersburg, Virginia, he was assistant finance director (1980-1981), assistant city manager (1981-1984), and city manager (1984-1992). In Jefferson County, Alabama, he served as a senior administrative analyst (1977-1980) and administrative analyst (1975-1976). He started his career as an intern with the Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of Policy Management (1974-1975).
Julie Couch has served three Texas municipalities during her 45-year career. She assumed her current position as town manager in Fairview, Texas, after serving on an interim basis. Before that, she was in Rockwall as an administrative assistant (1979-1980), assistant city manager (1980-1993), and city manager (1993-2011). She began her career in Seagoville as an administrative intern (1975-1976) and administrative assistant (1976-1978).
David Cressman, ICMA-CM, Retired, most recently “re-retired” after serving as town administrator in Atkinson, New Hampshire (2019-2021). Most of his career was in Massachusetts, serving in Tewksbury as town manager (1988-2009) and in Dartmouth as executive administrator (2009-2012) and town (administrator (2012-2018). After retiring and “un-retiring,” he served in Winthrop, Massachusetts, as town manager (2018). He started his career working for the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania (1975-1980), working as an intern, planner, and then legislative aide to the city council. He then went to Hartford, Connecticut (1980-1988), starting as a management analyst before advancing to chief management analyst and director of management and budget.
Richard (Rick) French, county manager in Alexander County, North Carolina, has served two counties, two cities, and two towns in the state. He was county manager in Lincoln County (1993-1998), city manager in Newton (1988-1993), city administrator in Hamlet (1986-1988), and town manager in Mebane (1983-1986) and Huntersville (1976-1983).
James R. Fulcher, borough manager in New Holland, Pennsylvania, was previously borough manager in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania (1983-1985), county coordinator in Grant County, West Virginia (1977-1983), and program manager in Centre County, Pennsylvania (1976-1977).
Michael Frazier has served three Arizona cities in his lengthy career, most recently as city manager in Surprise since 2018. He started his career as a police officer and assistant police chief in Phoenix (1975- 2007) and went on to become police chief in El Mirage (2007-2011) and Surprise (2011-2015) before becoming assistant city manager in Surprise (2015-2018) and later assuming his current position.
Robert (Bob) Hagemann has been county administrator in Jefferson County, New York, since 1996. He started his career as administrative aide to the city manager in Mexico, Missouri (1976-1976). He went on to become administrative aide to the city manager in Columbia, Missouri (1977), before moving on to Muskegon, Michigan, where he was administrative assistant to the city manager (1977-1981), assistant city manager (1981-1983), city manager (1983-1989), and economic development specialist (1989). He then served as city manager in Altoona, Pennsylvania (1990-1994) and township manager in Logan Township, Pennsylvania (1994-1996), before advancing to Jefferson County.
Matthew Lutkus, town manager in Damariscotta, Maine, has served three other municipalities during his 45-year career. He started as an administrative intern in West Hartford, Connecticut (1976-1977), and a public management intern in Kansas City, Missouri (1977-1978). He went on to become a budget systems analyst in Kansas City (1978-1980) before serving in four positions in Westminster, Colorado: assistant to the city manager (1980-1984), director of employee services (1984-1988), director of general services (1988-1991), and deputy city manager (1991-2012).
Mark McNeill, ICMA-CM, has been city administrator in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, since 2015. Before assuming his current position, he held city administrator positions in Shakopee, Minnesota (1996-2014), Mason City, Iowa (1994-1996), and Savage, Minnesota (1983-1994). Before that, he was parking and traffic manager in Sioux City, Iowa (1981-1983).
Max Royle, city manager in St. Augustine Beach, Florida, began his 45-year career as an administrative assistant in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1976. He went on to St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, where he served as city planner (1976-1977), acting city manager (1977-1978), and city manager (1978-1988). In 1988-1989, he was city manager in Seward, Alaska, before going to St. Augustine Beach.
Mary Rupp has been special assistant to the city manager in Cushing, Oklahoma, since 2019. She started her career as secretary to the city manager in Stillwater (1976-1987). She went on to serve Stillwater as assistant/deputy city manager (1987-2011), before moving on to become city manager in Perry, Oklahoma (2012-2016). She then served as interim city manager in Norman (2018-2019) before advancing to her current position in Cushing.
John Salomone has devoted his lengthy career to cities in Connecticut and New York. He has served as city manager in Norwich, Connecticut, since 2016. Before that, he was town manager in Newington, Connecticut (2006-2016) and city manager in Auburn, New York (2000-2006). His earlier positions were all in Connecticut: town manager in Cheshire (1997-2000) and in Watertown (1992-1997), director of finance in East Hartford (1991-1992) and Ridgefield (1988-1990), administrative officer with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (1987-1988), director of finance in Milford (1983-1987), assistant town manager in Watertown (1978-1983), budget director in Greenwich (1976-1978), and budget analyst in St. Petersburg (1975-1976). He was in the private sector in 1990-1991.
Eric Smith has been city manager in Englewood, Ohio, since 1979 and has served that city for his entire career. Before his promotion to the manager position, he was director of service (1977-1979) and city planner (1976-1977).
Craig Stevenson serves as chief executive of New Plymouth District Council, New Zealand. Before assuming that position in 2017, he served South Taranaki District Council in four positions: chief executive (2004-2017), group manager, community services and development (2000-2004), corporate services manager (1998-2000), and information services manager (1989-1998). For the former Hawera District Council he served as deputy treasurer (1985-1989). Early in his career he also held various clerical positions with Palmerston North City Corporation (1978-1985) and prior to that was a laborer with the Hawera Borough Council (1976 to 1978).
Julian M. Suso, ICMA-CM, town manager in Falmouth, Massachusetts, began his career in Ohio as director of planning in Wayne County (1976-1983), city manager in Rittman (1983-1986), assistant to the city manager (1986-1987) and vice city manager (1987-1990) in Cleveland Heights, and city manager in Mentor (1990-2006). From Ohio he went to Massachusetts, serving as town manager in Framingham (2006-2011) before taking the position in Falmouth in 2011.