Highlights of last week’s city commission meeting included a new credential program the city offered to staff and a celebration of EMS Chief James Maxwell’s completion of the Executive Fire Officer Program.
Staff with the City of Plant City are now able to add one more avenue to further expanding their credentials list.
City commissioners authorized City Manager Bill McDaniel to execute a letter of agreement with Florida State University that will allow up to 25 employees to head “back to school” to receive designation as a Certified Public Manager.
“This is something that I proposed initially when I became City Manager as part of my organizational deep dive,” McDaniel said.
“When you talk about the depth and breadth of a systemic overhaul like the one I have wanted to bring to the city, you have to talk about the goal to have more opportunities for all of our staff to grow and continue to expand on what they can offer to our community,” McDaniel said. “We needed to get ourselves established with the program and now we are able to offer this certification program for up to 25 of our employees.”
The curriculum has eight levels of classroom instruction supplemented by homework and exams. Typically it will take a participant 18 to 24 months to complete the program, and if they are successful they will walk away as a Certified Public Manager. Levels 1 to 7 are offered at a flat rate of $8,000 per level and Level 8 is offered at a flat rate of $8,750. For 25 participants to attend, the total cost for the City of Plant City is $64,750.
The CPM program is “a nationally-recognized leadership development program for public managers and supervisors.” Florida State University’s program aims to professionalize public management and improve “organizational efficiency and effectiveness.” The letter of agreement with FSU will allow for the training and development of up to 25 employees during the period of Nov. 30, 2020 to Sept. 20, 2022.
The first round of sessions will begin in March shortly after the end of the Florida Strawberry Festival. McDaniel has already enrolled in the program and said he aims to “lead by example.”
He joked in last week’s meeting that he was once again juggling homework and exams, and said he believes the lessons he has learned from the program will be a major asset for the rest of the staff who also aim to obtain the certification.
During the meeting, McDaniel also announced to commissioners that another major achievement had been completed by a City Employee. EMS Chief James Maxwell completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. The NFA’s Fire Officer Program takes four years to complete and “ provides senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire and emergency services administration.”
The courses are broken up into two-week segments and focus on the following:
Year one focuses on Executive Development and is designed to assist fire service personnel in developing effective management and leadership skills.
Year two’s focus is Executive Analysis of Community Risk Reduction which is designed to help students to become a community risk-reduction leader.
Year three emphasizes Executive Analysis of Fire Service Operations in Emergency Management which enables the student to better prepare their communities for large-scale, multiagency, all hazard incidents.
Year Four’s Executive Leadership course provides the student with the framework of executive-level competencies by focusing primarily on issues and areas of personal effectiveness.
Maxwell also had to complete four applied research papers to demonstrate an application of all of the course theory and concepts he learned to real life applications. He was honored Monday evening at the commission meeting by all those in attendance.
“This is one of the many ways we ensure our citizens that we are delivering the best possible services,” McDaniel said. “For someone like Chief Maxwell to go through such a rigorous program just so he can make sure that he is able to provide the top level of service to his community, well, that’s an outstanding dedication on his part. We are willing, more than willing, as a city to make sure that our employees have the opportunity to pursue these types of credentials and achievements. In my mind it all goes back to the fact that we are here to serve. If you are going to your doctor, you want to know that your doctor is keeping up with training, is keeping their skills as sharp as possible. EFO for firefighters is top-tier training. And now our residents can know that Chief Maxwell is at that top level.”