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County Commissioners Interview Administrator Candidates


BRADENTON — During a special session Friday, Manatee County Commissioners interviewed four finalists for the vacant position of county administrator. While no action was taken, commissioners gave some indication as to which way they were leaning in the selection process. The next discussion of the county administrator position is scheduled for Tuesday's BOCC meeting.

Video of the session can be viewed below. For reference, a summary of each candidate that was provided by Colin Baenziger & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the board to field candidates, can be found below the video box.

Andrew Butterfield: Mr. Butterfield has been the Operations Manager for the City of St. Pete Beach, FL (population 8,717) since 2019. Previously, he served as the Director of Veteran Affairs at Brown University in Providence, RI for one year. Prior to that, he had a thirty-six-year career in the U.S. Navy, serving most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff at U.S. Special Operations Command and Joint Base Deputy Commander / Naval Support Activity Commander at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ for three years. In terms of management style, Mr. Butterfield is a consensus builder who focuses on organizational communication while moving multiple projects forward simultaneously. He revels in being part of a team where everyone is working together to make things better for all. One of Mr. Butterfield’s biggest achievements was knitting together disparate units and three previously separate military bases into one strong integrated team. Mr. Butterfield has a bachelor’s degree in naval science and political science from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School, and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

W. Lee Smith: Mr. Smith was most recently the County Manager for Chatham County, GA (population 296,329) where he served in that role for eight years. Previously he was the County Manager for Wayne County, NC (population 124,634) for thirteen years, and the County Manager for Washington County, NC (population 13,589) for eight years. Mr. Smith’s management style is to build teams that involve all levels of employees. These teams are assessed regularly and are part of developing solutions for county issues. His most recent achievement was the establishment of a new county police force in six months. Chatham County and the City of Savannah had decided to part ways when they could not agree on cost sharing between the parties. The Commissioners gave him a budget and timeline, both of which were met. The results were an approximate $3M reduction in police service cost while also providing higher service levels such as response times averaging seven minutes or less. Most importantly they established a real “community” police force that talks with the businesses and citizens, participates in community events even on their own time, and is seen as allies, not enemies. Mr. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of North Carolina. He is an ICMA-credentialed manager.

Don Rosenthal: Mr. Rosenthal worked for Pasco County, FL (population 553,947) for six years and spent five of them as the Assistant County Administrator. Previously, he served as the Buildings Director for Atlanta, GA (population 448,901) for four years and the Building and Safety Manager for Reno, NV (population 225,221) for three years. Other work included among other things serving as the Director of Community Development and Director of Code Services for Downers Grove, IL (population 50,000) for seven years. As a manager, Mr. Rosenthal creates an environment that is challenging yet enjoyable – an atmosphere where the staff wants to work hard to achieve the established goals. An achievement that he is particularly proud of occurred when he was charged with finding ways to accelerate the diversification of Pasco County’s tax base. He directed Planning and Economic Development teams to undertake an inventory of properties that were suitable for industrial development. Three major areas were identified: Laccoochee, Old Pasco Road spray-field property, and Zephyrhills Airport. In Laccoochee they have created 100 new full-time jobs. That was an area where no jobs had been created in the prior 40 years. Further, when complete, the industrially zoned area will support 700,000 square feet of commercial development and create an aggregate of 500 to 700 new jobs. For Old Pasco Road sprayfield property an assessment was completed, and a grant was secured. A developer then offered to purchase the land at market value. The project will result in an 885,000-square-foot industrial park generating approximately 1,500 full-time jobs over 2.5 years after coming fully online. At Zephyrhills Airport they obtained funding to extend the airport runway by 600 feet to allow corporate jets to utilize the airport facility. When complete, this effort will vastly increase the airport’s traffic, types of use, and revenue. Mr. Rosenthal has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and military science from Loyola University and a master’s degree in business administration from Regis University. He is an ICMA-credentialed manager and a Certified Public Manager.

Dale “Doc” Dougherty: Mr. Dougherty has been the City Manager for Garden City, MI (population 27,287) since 2018. Previously he was the Parks and Recreation Director for Hillsborough County, FL (population 1.455 million) for three years and for Macon-Bibb County, GA (population 53,498) for five years. Mr. Dougherty’s management style has three components: clarity of thought (vision), tenacity for action, and uncompromising values. While he has had many successes in his career, he still remembers the feeling of jubilation when he was the Director or Community Affairs for Lake Park, FL, when he served as the campaign manager for a $10 million bond issue passed with approximately 70% of the vote. The bond issue was equal to 100% of the Town’s budget so many in the community were skeptical when he began. The money was to be utilized to pay to revitalize much of the City. Through community meetings and presentations, he was able to change the “No” to “Maybe” and then to “Yes”. Mr. Dougherty has a bachelor’s degree in health care management from King’s College, a master’s degree in sports science from the United States Sports Academy, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.


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