Good Morning Emerging Leaders!
Welcome to the second day of guest buzzers! My name is Ben Bryant and I work as a Management Analyst with the City of Tualatin. In my guest buzz (blog), I want to share with you some wisdom from Tualatin’s City Manager, Sherilyn Lombos. Sherilyn has been one of the most incredible city managers to work for and learn from. She has a keen sense of her strengths and a distinct ability to place our organization in a position to utilize those traits. I hope you are able to find this installment of “Sherilyn Sharin'” and her take on the city management profession helpful.
- What are a couple of the most important issues in Tualatin this year?
One of the things that we are trying to think about on every single project, program, service or issue is community involvement. It’s so hard to get out of the mindset that we (staff) knows what’s best; we’ve trained for these things; we have master’s degrees that validate that we know how to identify an issue, brainstorm solutions, analyze and design the best approach and then let you (community) know what we did to solve the problem that we think you have. It’s really challenging to turn that process on its head and ask the community what they think the problem is and work with them on how to solve it. It’s messier and sometimes produces results that we as staff may not have come up with (gasp!). Another issue that we are all dealing with is ever increasing desires for service with less money to work with. The Police want a K-9 unit, the Senior Center needs a volunteer coordinator, the Library needs another children’s librarian, I.T. needs a database administrator…the list goes on; and it’s all important stuff, but at the same time, our revenues are growing slower than our expenses.
- What career accomplishment gives you the most pride?
Getting the job of City Manager still makes me proud; in previous jobs I worked really hard to be on projects that gave me a well-rounded portfolio and I tried to learn from everything I was involved in. I love my job (most of the time) and know that I’m in the right career for me. In terms of specific things that make me proud: we worked on and implemented a train whistle-free zone here in Tualatin. The coolest part of it was that from the time the community started complaining, to the time we implemented the whistle-free zone was 18 months, and that included getting federal appropriations, working with the railroad, and doing actual physical improvements to 10 intersections…18 months…that’s unheard of. I feel really proud of that.
- What aspect of city management do you find the most enjoyable?
I really like working with the City Council…they surprise me, keep me on my toes, make me think strategically. I also love the community interactions (most of them)…the vast majority of people I interact with are complimentary and affirming. I am humbled to work with the City employees…they are smart and professional and they care.
- What do you do to relieve stress?
Work. Oh, wait…I shouldn’t say that. I run and work out. I love hanging out with my kids (ages 9 and 11); they make me laugh. I also try really hard to be in the moment, whatever I’m doing.
- Who are your mentors?
I interned in Fremont, California for a city manager named Jan Perkins; she was awesome! She let me do stuff that would allow me to just be around her and watch her work (like driving her places, or taking notes in meetings); then she would let me pick her brain about how she reacted or handled certain situations…I loved that! Among other things, she taught me the value of developing and maintaining good relationships with the elected officials. My other mentor was the city manager I worked for in Manhattan Beach, California, Geoff Dolan. He was very unconventional, but taught me to not take myself so seriously; to laugh and have a good time; and to confront issues instead of avoiding.
- What was your favorite concert?
By far, Tina Turner…she was crazy amazing! Lionel Ritchie opened for her, and he was awesome too! Most recently, I went to a KISS concert where Motley Cru opened…rock on!
- Who has the best MPA program?
Ummm…how about the program that’s been named the #1 MPA program for city management 25 years in a row…the University of Kansas, hello!