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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 4 years ago

Interview process begins for Longboat residents

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

Let the interviews begin.

A subcommittee, formed to review town operations and potentially streamline efficiencies at Town Hall, interviewed two Key residents with extensive consulting experience Thursday, July 22. Tangerine Bay Club resident Rita Barry, a consultant with vast accounting experience, and Spanish Main resident Tom Freiwald, the co-owner of a management consulting firm, appeared to leave lasting impressions on subcommittee Chairman David Brenner and subcommittee member Phillip Younger.

Subcommittee member Lynn Larson did not arrive at the meeting until it had been adjourned, citing a prior engagement for her absence.

Barry, the first to hold an interview at the public meeting, told Brenner and Younger she has worked for more than 20 years as a consultant with many different companies and the government sector.

“Over the last 12 years, I have gone into offices and large and small companies to prove the effectiveness of their processes and procedures to generally give a better service to the general public,” Barry said.

“What I can provide is an outside, unbiased view and the expertise I have gained of doing things absolutely differently. By the time I have left most organizations, improvements have helped.”

Younger inquired whether Barry’s consultant work had been primarily for accounting aspects of companies.
Barry said that wasn’t the case.

“I have worked on everything from shop floors to corporate offices,” Barry said. “But my accounting background gives me a sound structure and enables me to provide the shell at which I can evaluate what’s going on and how to do it better.”

Freiwald followed Barry, providing a resume that shows he had a 30-year management career in the Detroit automotive industry, a master’s degree in leadership and organizational communication and a doctorate in organizational communication.

“I’m a consultant and at its core, consulting is a form of a research structure,” Freiwald said.

Freiwald continued by explaining he was a bit concerned with the subcommittee approach and worried that anyone being nominated to review a department might have a bias.

“And if you have someone involved with town politics before, they might be researching initiatives they help put into place,” Freiwald said.

Freiwald told the subcommittee there’s a need for a uniform survey form that would be used by everyone involved to cut down on the reports the commission receives.

When Freiwald suggested it might be worthwhile to perform “a pilot model” by picking one of the smaller departments and going through the process to see how it works, Brenner said it’s already going to be done.

Brenner, a certified public accountant and the former director of commerce for the city of Philadelphia, will be reviewing the town’s finance department this month.

The subcommittee plans to continue to hold meetings during the summer to talk with other interested residents.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

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