The Curious Case Of Mr. Smith

| December 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

Doug Smith, appointed Chief Administrative Officer

Qualifications Questioned

It seems that the Executive Director of the International city/Council Management Association (ICMA) wants to be very clear that the newly appointed Chief Administrative Officer, Doug Smith, is not credentialed by the organization, nor does he appear to be in the process as reported in The Capital on December 5, 2009.

Anyone who attended any of the mayoral forums heard Mayor Cohen promise to hire a “credentialed city manager.” It was a surprise that Mr. Smith was chosen for a number of reasons. First, he was a nemesis of Cohen during the campaign. Second, he and his group endorsed Dave Cordle. And third, Dough Smith is not qualified to run a municipality.

Of course Mr. Smith’s resume is impressive from a business point of view. Of course having some business sense in City Hall will be a refreshing change of pace. But the appointment is still puzzling and the lack of municipal management surely came through clearly in the City’s response (or lack of response) to the recent snowstorm.

Robert J. O’Neill, Jr., the Executive Director of the ICMA, wrote a letter to the editor which was published in today’s edition of The Capital. (The Capital does not make printed letters available online.) The point of the letter was to be very clear that the organization does not “certify” city managers, but offers a program that will “credential” an individual based on experience in municipal management. He stated that in order to be considered a candidate for the program, Doug would need to have five years of “senior executive-level local government management experience.” And to be deemed an ICMA Credentialed Manager he would need seven years of experience.

The most curious part of the letter was where Mr. O’Neill disclosed that his organization had worked closely with Doug for the past year to help craft the message to convey the superiority and value of a council-manager form of government–not the mayoral appointed manager as we now have.

What caused Doug Smith to change his position? What caused Mayor Cohen to back down from a major campaign promise? Why did Mr. O’Neill feel compelled to set the record straight? Will Mayor Cohen and Mr. Smith address these issues and discrepancies? After 8 years of living in a mismanaged city, are we currently on the path for another four?

You can read the full text of Mr. O’Neill’s letter after the jump.

From the printed edition of The Capital, December 29, 2009:

Doug Smith

The International City/Council Management Association was interested to learn that newly appointed Annapolis Chief Administrative Officer Doug Smith is “in the process of becoming a(n ICMA) certified city manager” (The Capital, Dec. 5).

We would like to set the record straight regarding our Credentialing Program and its importance in recognizing the value professional local government management can contribute to a community.

ICMA doesn’t have a “certification” program. Our Voluntary Credentialing Program is a means of defining and recognizing an individual ICMA member who is a professional local government manager qualified by a combination of education and experience, adherence to high standards of integrity and an assessed committment to lifelong learning and professional development.

To earn an ICMA credential, an individual must first be a full ICMA member who possesses a minimum of seven years of senior executive-level local government management experience. While clearly an accomplished manager who has many years of private sector experience, Doug would need to acquire at least five years’ worth of senior level experience to qualify for Credentialed Manager Candidate status or seven years’ experience to qualify fro designation as an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

Under council-manager government, the chief appointed position is selected by the entire governing body based on his or her education and experience in overseeing the day-to-day operations of a jurisdiction. This differs from mayor-council government where the position of CAO is a mayoral appointment.

In the spirit of full disclosure, during the past year, the staff of ICMA provided statistics, information and brochures to Doug and other Annapolitans to assist them in getting the message out to citizens about the value that the council-manager form of government and professional local government management make. We hope the citizens of Annapolis understand these are important distinctions.

ROBERT J. O’NEILL, JR

Executive Director, ICMA

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Category: POLITICAL NEWS

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.