Deric C. Feacher should lead the city forward

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My public / private career experiences give me a clear and unique perspective on which person I feel is the best fit to become the next city manager.

Percy L. Williamson sr.
Percy L. Williamson sr.

Last week, the City Manager Community Forum allowed the citizens of Daytona Beach to hear from each of the three finalists for the position of Daytona Beach city manager. Citizens asked questions of substance, they observed their delivery style and evaluated them under the glare and pressure of the public spotlight.

I came into  the forum with a preconceived favorite and personal choice based on my extensive research. That included all of the documentation submitted to the city of Daytona Beach and my own deep dive review of each man’s online digital footprint, and at least one phone call each to a friend or  colleague from each of their perspective cities.

My own experience

I also leaned  heavily on my 25-year banking career of which I spent a large portion in the community  development finance division traveling the state of Florida visiting all 67 counties. I worked primarily with  city and county governments to facilitate community and economic development projects. I also had a 15-year career as the Director of Leisure Services for the City of Daytona Beach.

My public / private career experiences give me a clear and unique perspective on which person I feel is the best fit to become the next city manager.

Deric C. Feacher is my personal choice by a wide margin as the next city manager. Here is why:

Ability to communicate effectively – Mr. Feacher has a unique and inviting way in which he makes a  connection both with individuals and to large crowds when he is engaging in open dialogue. He exudes  competence and confidence. He takes complex issues and boil them down into easily  understood  layman’s terms. His ability to effectively communicate to city commissioners, city staff, everyday citizens, the business community, potential firms or potential city  partners looking to relocate to our city is huge.

Background and experience – Mr. Feacher has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Bethune-Cookman University and lived in Daytona Beach’s Midtown area as a  student in the late 1990s. He has over 20 years of public management  experience as a senior-level administrator, with seven of his 20 years serving as a city manager. He currently serves as the city manager of Haines City, Fla.

Mr. Feacher  has a skill set that is solid and transferrable. A comparison of  the numerical size of a city’s fiscal budget does not diminish his major accomplishments.

He and his finance  team improved Winter Haven’s bond ratings. And as city manager, he negotiated a  deal with Legoland to secure an annexation into the city limits which brought an additional $400,000 annually in tax revenues to the city.

He negotiated the sale of city-owned property to CARVANA to construct a $40 million automotive and distribution center, which had a major economic impact to the city and also created in excess of 400 additional jobs. 

Mr. Feacher has documented support from previous and current elected officials and from Chambers of Commerce in Polk County in pursuit of the Daytona Beach city manager job.

Energy, vision, passion for the community – Mr. Feacher is not an outsider finding his way in a new city. He’s a seasoned neighbor coming home bringing with him high-level credentials of a hard-working, high-energy administrator reporting for duty. He views his leadership style as that of a captain of a team helping shape the vision of a community ready to rise. He spoke about empowering his department directors to help him mold and execute the shared vision of our citizens and elected officials.

Engagement and transparency – Deric C. Feacher has promised to bring a more engaged and transparent interaction with all city stakeholders. He has promised “to be part of the community, not just paid by the community.” He spoke of monthly sessions open to everyday citizens and the  possibility of regular visitations to  Neighborhood Watch groups and homeowner associations accompanied by city department directors and staff.

Deric C. Feacher, has the credentials, background, experience, leadership qualities, vision and the skill set to elevate Daytona Beach to a top-tier city.

Percy L. Williamson, Sr. is Senior Principal of Summit Governmental Strategies, Inc. Click on this commentary at www.daytonatimes.com to write your own response.

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