Robert Baldwin is former director of administration for the Broward Sheriff’s Office and assistant city manager in Hollywood, Florida. He received his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Florida. For nearly four decades, Robert Baldwin has worked as city manager for different Florida cities, serving as city manager of Dania Beach, Florida, since 2009. Between 1978 and 1986, he was an assistant city manager in Fort Lauderdale.
As an assistant city manager in the mid-1980s, Mr. Baldwin was a part of an effort to fend off graffiti artists who were vandalizing the Spring Break wall located on State Road A1A. Led by police chief Ron Cochran, the effort involved more than a thousand art students who were allowed to use the wall as an avenue for self-expression before the spray-paint graffiti artists could do more damage to public property.
The participating art students came from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, a school dedicated to training aspiring commercial and graphic artists, fashion illustrators, and interior designers, among others. According to Cochran, it was hoped that getting art students involved in the project would serve as positive peer pressure to minimize the occurrence of graffiti on the 2,500-foot wall.
Now the city manager of Dania Beach, Florida, Robert Baldwin has held this position in several Florida cities. During his tenure as city manager of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Robert Baldwin spearheaded an annexation initiative to boost revenue and lower taxes.
In 2010, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea annexed an oceanfront 1,800-resident condo complex called Sea Ranch Lakes. The annexation of the complex from unincorporated Broward County required the town to pay $112,000 to Pompano Beach in order to add the complex to the town’s sewage disposal plan. Despite a rise in sewage rates for residents, the annexation lowered taxes by expanding the town’s tax base by 58 percent, taking its total taxable value to $428 million.
Further, the initiative helped Lauderdale-By-The-Sea fund its $4.1 million budget that year, which was more than $818,000 higher than that of the previous year. Much of the extra revenue went toward fulfilling agreements with Sea Ranch Lakes, such as hiring two police officers for beach patrol, a part-time technician to repair parking meters, a part-time grant writer, and a part-time planner. However, the annexation allowed the town to increase its reserves from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
A municipal manager with more than 20 years of experience, Robert Baldwin serves as city manager of Dania Beach, Florida. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience to this city manager role, Robert Baldwin holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Florida (UF), which announced that a team of four UF students won second place in the MuniMod civic tech competition.
The first annual MuniMod civic tech competition brought together students from throughout Florida for a 24-hour hackathon in Orlando. Sponsored by Domi Station and the Florida League of Cities, the competition required that students devise solutions to challenges facing Florida cities.
The UF team created a mobile platform called IdenCity, which is designed to facilitate communication between city governments and citizens in an effort to foster civic engagement, which is lacking in the state of Florida. The team collaborated for months to build a prototype of IdenCity, gathering feedback from city officials and developing wireframes with an app called AppCooker.
After close deliberation, the competition’s judges awarded the $10,000 prize to the team of students from Florida State University to continue developing their idea. However, UF’s team made a strong impression on the judges, who made a last-minute decision to award the team a second-place prize of $5,000.