Fort Smith receives nine applicants for city administrator job

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 347 views 

The city of Fort Smith on Thursday (Feb. 11) received from a headhunter firm nine applications for the city administrator job, with two having military experience and one appearing to not meet one of the basic requirements of having a bachelor’s degree.

City Administrator Ray Gosack resigned suddenly on July 10 following a period of conflict with the Fort Smith Board of Directors related to budget balancing decisions. Gosack held the job for about three years, and was with the city for 16 years.

The city administrator job pays between $130,000 and $170,000.

According to information from Colin Baenziger & Associates (CBA), the Daytona Shores Beach, Fla.-based firm hired by the city to find administrator, requirements for the city’s top job include a bachelor’s degree, with a preference for a candidate with a master’s degree in business administration, public administration or a field related to public policy. The CBA recruitment piece suggests candidates have “seven to ten years of increasingly responsible experience as a senior level government or private sector executive.” The person is also required to live in the city if hired.

Acting Fort Smith City Administrator Jeff Dingman is one of the nine applicants. Mark Stenger, who worked for Hickory Springs Manufacturing between 1989 and 2015 is the only candidate with all private sector experience. However, Stenger does not have a college degree.

The Fort Smith Board of Directors is now expected to narrow the list to three candidates. On Jan. 5, the Fort Smith Board agreed to hold evening meetings on Monday, Feb. 29; Thursday, March 3; Monday, March 7; and Tuesday, March 8. The plan is to interview one of three finalist candidates on each of the dates leading up to the March 8 meeting.

The final night – a regular meeting – will be when the Board reaches its decision on the trio of candidates. Exact times on each night will be locked down after Feb. 18, when the city decides on finalists for the position.

Following are the applicants and a summary of their work experience and education.

• Daniel Biles
deputy county manager-infrastructure (2014-present)
Jefferson County Commission, Birmingham, Ala.

executive director-public works (2010-2014)
Corpus Christi, Texas

infrastructure business stream manager (2008-2010)
Corpus Christi, Texas

entitlement-project manager (2006-2008)
Puyallup, Wash.

senior project manager (1998-2006)
Hatton Godat Panter, Olympia, Wash.

Biles also is a 23-year veteran of the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force. He retired as a colonel, and his time in service included commander (2015-2012) of the 248th Civil Engineering Flight, Camp Murray, Wash.; and commander (2008-2007) of the 120th Fighter Wing Headquarters Squadron, Great Falls, Mont.

Biles graduated in 1990 from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and in 1994 graduated Texas A&M with a master’s degree in civil engineering.

• Chris Browning
owner and president, Advanced Utility Consulting Services (2013-present)

executive director, public works (2014-2015)
McKinney, Texas

assistant director, public works (2001-2010)
Fulton County, Atlanta

water and sewer director (1998-2001)
Marietta Board of Lights and Water, Marietta, Ga.

director of engineering and construction (1996-1998)
Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Ga.

Browning earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University.

• J.D. Cox
city manager (2011-present)
Alliance, Neb.

city administrator (2014-2010)
Neodesha, Kans.

mayor (1998-2004)
Neodesha, Kans.

manager-information technology (1993-2004)
M-E-C Company, Neodesha, Kans.

business relations anaylst (1989-1993)
Electronic Data Systems (EDS)

Cox graduated 1989 from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and also graduated in 1989 from the University of Mississippi with a master’s degree in business administration

• Jeff Dingman

acting city administrator (July 2015-present)
deputy city administrator (2011-2015)
Fort Smith, Ark.

administrator (2003-2011)
Baldwin City, Kans.

assistant county administrator (1999-2003)
Sebastian County, Ark.

administrative aide to the city manager (1997-1999)
University Park, Texas

management intern (1996-1997)
Bonner Springs, Kans.

Dingman in 1994 earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Baker University, in 1998 earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas, and in 1998 earned a law degree from the University of Kansas.

Carl Geffken
chief operating officer, Children and Youth Services (2012-present)
County of Berks, Pennsylvania

city managing director (2010-2012
Reading, Pa.

director of administrative services (2009-2011)
Reading, Pa.

interim chief financial officer/vice president of finance (July-November 2008)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

director of finance and human resources (2006-2008)
National Association of Drug Abuse Problems

executive director, finance, information technology and human resources (2003-2006)
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City

budget director (1990-1998)
Department of Health, New York City

Geffken earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1986 from State University of New York, and a master’s degree in business administration in 1988 from City University of New York.

• Anthony O’Rourke
city manager (2012-2016)
Yakima, Wash.

city manager (2010-2012)
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

executive director (1996-2010)
Beaver Creek Resort Co., Beaver Creek, Colo.

assistant city manager (1995-1996)
Tallahassee, Fla.

city manager (1992-1995), assistant city manager (1989-1992)
Coral Springs, Fla.

assistant city manager (1985-1989), admin assistant to the city manager (1983-1985))
Richardson, Texas

administrative assistant to the deputy city manager and fire chief (1981-1983)
Dallas, Texas

community development director (1977-1979)
Isla Vista, Calif.

O’Rourke in 1977 earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and in 1981 earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Cornell University.

• Christopher Philbrick
management consultant (2011-present)
Dumfries, Va.

city manager (equivalent) (2005-2008)
Fort Irwin, Calif.

deputy city manager (2000-2002)
Fort Rucker, Ala.

principal municipal advisor (2008-2009
Ministry of Defense, Baghdad, Iraq

Philbrick served in the U.S. Army between 1981-2011, rising from the rank of 2nd Lt. to colonel. In addition to serving as an advisor to the Secretary of the Army, O’Rourke held six command positions and served two combat tours in Iraq.

Philbrick earned in 1982 a bachelor’s degree in government from Norwich University, in 1994 a master’s degree in management from Webster University, and in 2003 a master’s degree in strategic planning from the U.S. Army War College.

• Patrick Salerno
city manager (2009-2014)
Coral Gables, Fla.

city manager (1990-2008), assistant city manager (1990)
Sunrise, Fla.

county manager (1987-1989)
Cobb County, Marietta, Ga.

county manager (1985-1987)
Chatham County, Savannah, Ga.

assistant county manager (1980-1985)
Volusia County, Daytona Beach, Fla.

various management positions (1975-1980)
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Salerno earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Miami-Coral Gables, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.

•  Mark Stenger
vice president-manufacturing operations (2014-2015)
vice president-sales for transportation business unit (2013-2014)
vice president-transportation & metal products (2011-2013)
vice president-western division (2003-2011)
western division general manager (2001-2003)
Hickory Springs Manufacturing Solutions, Fort Smith, Ark.

general manager west coast (1997-2001)
operations manager metals (March-July 1997)
metal products manager (1995-1997)
territory sales manager (1989-1995)
Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Commerce, Calif.

Prior to working for Hickory Springs, Stenger held various furniture-industry sales positions between 1977 and 1989.