The City of Hawthorne, Florida is a quaint city of 1,500 residents that supports a business population of about 20,000. The City is located in Alachua County, about 16 miles from Gainesville, which is home to the University of Florida. The City is in close proximity to 3 community colleges, and major hospitals. Hawthorne has excellent recreational opportunities with 400 lakes in the area and multiple sites for hunting, fishing, and biking.
The City Commission is made up of a Mayor, elected annually from the City Commission and four Commission members with two-year staggered terms. They are seeking a City Manager that is comfortable working in a small community and a good ambassador that treats others with dignity and respect. The Manager should have the leadership skills to motivate a City staff that consists of 11 full time employees that include finance, public works, utility billing, City Clerk, and Parks and Recreation. The City Manager also supervises the Community Redevelopment Agency and serves as the staff member to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Police and Fire services are contracted to Alachua County and the water and sewer plants are maintained daily by staff and operated by outside contractors.
The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the City Commission for an indefinite term. However, this does not prevent the Commission from entering into a written contract for a fixed period of time with the Manager. The Compensation and benefits of the Manager are fixed by the Commission. The salary range is $75,000-$85,000. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Course work in Public Administration, Business Administration, or City Planning is preferred. Five years of work experience in Public Administration is required. However, an equal amount of work experience in the private sector in management with a company of similar size and complexity to Hawthorne may be considered a functional equivalent.
The City Manager is appointed as the Chief Administrative Officer of the City. The Manager is responsible to the City Commission for the administration of all City Affairs. The Manager directs and supervises the administration of all departments and is responsible for the hiring, supervision and removal of all City employees. The Manager ensures that all laws and acts of the Commission are carried out and submits the annual budget to the Commission for adoption. He/she also presents the comprehensive annual financial report to the Commission and keeps them advised of the financial condition and future needs of the City.
The successful candidate must build a sense of trust with the community and find ways to include residents in the important decisions that affect the City. He/she must be able to work in a diverse community and bridge any racial divide in the City between residents, and in the business community. He/she must treat others with respect and build a team with City employees. The Manager must be inclusive with all Commissioners and keep them informed of City activities on a regular basis. He/she must be able to balance the needs of the Commission, office staff and parks and maintenance personnel.
Major challenges the new City Manager will face include administering and keeping track of approximately 38 grants, a waste treatment plant that is 50 years old and in need of being upgraded and expanded, growth management issues that may become controversial such as the development of the 1340-acre Hawthorne Industrial Park, and the proposed development of a 750-unit RV park and 750-unit residential development. Keeping water and sewer lines maintained and able to meet the demands placed on utilities and city facilities created by new growth will be crucial.