City Management Basics

With more than three decades of experience as a city manager and in similar positions, Robert Baldwin knows what separates a good manager from a bad one. After serving as the city manager in large cities like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and smaller towns like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Robert Baldwin can explain the basics of the position.

Not only is the manager of a city expected to handle all of the city’s day-to-day needs, like serving as an adviser to city council and communicating with department heads, he must also serve as the main public relations contact and prepare an annual budget. The manager operates independent of the city council and other city governmental bodies in an effort to remain impartial while she makes difficult decisions.

Although every town deals with its manager differently, the International City/County Management Association has attempted to standardize the process by putting forth a code of ethics with 12 tenets to help promote responsible, professional local government.

Fort Lauderdale Cancels Contract for Law Enforcement Vehicles

City manager Robert Baldwin has spent more than three decades in local government management. His experience includes managing budgets of millions of dollars and managing city personnel of up to 3,200 employees. From 1978 to 1986, Robert Baldwin served as assistant city manager of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Fort Lauderdale recently canceled a contract with Government Fleet Services, a company hired to provide new, unmarked law enforcement vehicles. The city signed the $6.1 million contract last year in hopes of saving money on the replacement of its old fleet, but the contractor failed to provide the specified number of vehicles. The program could have saved money for the city by providing new cars at a substantially lower-than-market cost and allowing old cars to rotate out of the fleet for resale. The vehicles furnished by the contractor met the criteria for the discounted rate, but the contractor could not supply the quantity of vehicles required to meet the city’s needs.