ICMA was scheduled to present our first ever 60-year Service Award to C. Samuel “Sam” Kissinger at the 2020 ICMA Annual Conference. We were greatly looking forward to sharing this milestone moment with members, as well as the village of Indian Creek, Florida, where Sam served as manager. Unfortunately, prior to the conference, in November 2019, he passed away.
Sam was well known for his tenacity, professionalism, and kindness. He cultivated a multitude of meaningful work relationships over his long career. He was deeply respected and appreciated by his peers. “Sam was a wonderful gentleman and a true professional in every way. It was a privilege to know and work with him,” commented Indian Creek Council Member Irma Braman.
Sam made many changes that dramatically improved the life of the residents of Indian Creek, including overseeing a significant housing growth spurt. However, in addition to all his efforts in bettering the community, he is perhaps best known for being a thoughtful and engaged manager. Police Chief Clarke Maher, Indian Creek Village, said, “One of Sam’s favorite sayings was ‘we don’t guess, we know.’ He was a father figure to everyone here at the creek. He always spent time talking with the troops and was interested in their personal lives—a very rare quality.”
Many staff members shared this sentiment. Village Clerk Marilane Lima remarked, “Sam was the best manager I ever worked with. I learned a lot with him! I remember him sitting with us at lunchtime laughing, enjoying the time either watching sports or just cracking a joke!” Similarly, Beatrice Good, finance director, recalls, “One of my favorite memories of Sam is having lunch with staff around the kitchen table while he shared amusing life stories. They were always gems!”
Friends and colleagues alike agree that Sam was an invaluable source of encouragement and support. Sam provided his employees guidance that ultimately left them better positioned to excel in their futures. Many of his peers are reminded of Sam’s professionalism as they reflect on their experiences with him over the years. Councilmember Irwin Tauber remarked, “Although Sam was a quiet man, his demeanor was always pleasant. He was smart and a true professional in his job.” Mayor Bernard Klepach commented, “Sam was an exemplary leader and a true public servant.”
Prior to his 17-year long tenure at Indian Creek, he served as manager for other cities such as New Rochelle, New York; Key Biscayne, Florida; and Marco Island, Florida.
Sam was also a known sports enthusiast. Vice Mayor Javier Holtz said, “I enjoyed chatting with Sam about our local sports teams, specifically his beloved Marlins. He will be missed by all of us at the village.”