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LC City Manager Search: Can An X-Army Colonel Get Lake City Aimed in the Right Direction? Tonight the City Council Will Decide

Sunset with caption: will Lake City have a city manager when the sun sets tonight?
Photo: EvelinTomić via Unsplash | Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – The Lake City City Manager search may come to a merciful end this evening after the City Council meets to discuss the offer of retired army colonel Glen Adams. In January, Mr. Adams was the City's number two pick in its first round of candidate interviews.


widget-city-manager-storiesThe Rene’ Narloch City Manager Search has been problematic from its very beginning when then-councilman Chris Greene, out of the clear blue, purportedly inquired of City Attorney Fred Koberlein about the city manager search in Live Oak.

From that point, the Lake City City Manager Search went sideways.

Councilman Todd Sampson attempted to reach out to the City’s number two pick, retired army colonel Glen Adams at the April 18 City Council meeting.

After the April 18 meeting, Mr. Adams reached out to the City with a counter-offer which included two simple terms: Mr. Adams would work as the interim city manager for six months, and the City would provide housing during that time.

Photo of the Lake City Council members and City Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr.
Lake City Council, and City Attorney. Clockwise beginning top left: Councilman Jake Hill, City Atty Fred Koberlein, Councilmen Eugene Jefferson and Todd Sampson, Mayor Steve Witt. City Atty. Koberlien is not a member   |   Columbia County Observer Photos

Mayor Witt called a special meeting. City Clerk Audrey Sikes scheduled the meeting around City Attorney Fred Koberlein's schedule, even though his contract states that any attorney from his firm could attend meetings.

Tonight's meeting was initially scheduled for yesterday, Monday, at 3:30 pm, when the working public could not attend. Attorney Koberlein had a meeting in Fort White at 6 pm, so the Clerk scheduled the 3:30 pm meeting to fit his schedule.

Tonight's meeting had City Clerk Sikes again waiting to the 12th hour to hear from Attorney Koberlein to see if the 6 o’clock time met his schedule.

With Attorney Koberlein's schedule satisfied, the meeting was rescheduled for this evening at 6 pm.

Glen Adams: a brief Q & A

City Manager Candidate answers  questions in Lake City
Glen Adams at his interview.

After reviewing Mr. Adams’ resume, reviewing the interview, and doing more research, your reporter reached out to Mr. Adams to gain clarity about his military experience and how that would relate to the running of Lake City.

Question:  "I see you have a lot of military experience and spent some time in the Middle East, particularly Kuwait and Iraq. Could you tell me a little about that?"

Mr. Adams said he was there in 2002-2003 for the initial invasion. While in Kuwait, then-Major Adams managed around 12 construction projects daily.

 Mr. Adams added that it was during his time with the 92nd Engineer Battalion while they were stationed in Baghdad, Iraq that he managed 60 construction projects daily, with 1200 engineer soldiers assigned to the battalion.

“I was part of CFLCC (Coalition Forces Land Component Command). In the first three months, I spent $80 million setting the conditions for forces to come to Kuwait and have bed-down facilities so they could prepare.”

Mr. Adams said when he was in Kuwait, "We had 60 construction projects going on every day. I was the operations officer for the first six months, which means I was in charge of all the construction. And then, I became the XO, which means I was the second in charge. I was in charge of the staff to ensure all that construction could happen."

Mr. Adams continued, “In 2005, I went with the 92nd Engineer Battalion; we had 1200 engineers and went to Baghdad for the year…."

Your reporter asked, “What kind of engineering were you doing over there?”

Mr. Adams said, “One of our first jobs was to repair the equivalent of an interstate.”

Your reporter followed up, “Was this Army Corps of Engineers?”

Mr. Adams answered, “No, we were combat construction.”

Question: “What else did you build over there?”

Mr. Adams answered: “We built schools, soccer fields. We first did these kinds of projects which supported education.”

Your reporter followed up, “So when it came to construction if I understand, you personally didn't build it. You were in charge of that stuff?”

Mr. Adams answered, “Yes.”

Some Folks Have Been Complaining

Former City Councilman Glenel Bowden address the City Council
Former City Councilman Glenel Bowden has led the charge against Mr. Adams.  (file)

Your reporter said, “Some folks are complaining that you were only a city manager for two years - and other things.”

Mr. Adams answered, “Just short of two years. I understand. I was Chief of Staff of White Sands Missile Range. I was in charge of facilities at US Forces Japan – 85 installations and a billion dollars worth of budget every year – a billion dollars of Host Nation construction."

Question:  “When you were in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, you were a civilian. How many men were under your command?”

Mr. Adams answered: “There were 875 civilians in the command itself, depending on the time. When I got there in 2015, there were about 500 contracted civilians. It was about 1400 total people when I first got there.”

Your reporter asked what Mr. Adams did at White Sands.

Mr. Adams explained he was second in command under the general, adding, “I had smart people working under me – we all worked as a team. I was also the senior mission commander. There were 6000 in the workforce.”

Your reporter asked: “Were you responsible for them, too?”

Mr. Adams said, “Yes and no. The senior mission commander’s responsibility is to facilitate the ability to do their mission. I had to pay attention to their issues and support them.”

Your reporter followed up, “The people you supervised, what did they do? Food and garbage and stuff like that?

Mr. Adams laughed, “That’s a small portion of it.”

He explained they did everything from human resources to internal Intel. He said “we” had a nuclear reactor to guard, and the guard force worked for him, and there was more. He said there was operations that supported and planned everything and logistics, and that engineering and future plans were also under him.

Mr. Adams said his team “wrote our 30-year vision," and the following year, the team further refined the 30-year vision with a "capacity to build report” that supported the vision in a 6 to 7-year budget cycle.

Mr. Adams explained, “We needed to be ahead of the game preparing for our future… The budget just for us was $240 million.”

Lake City has an area of 12.43 miles
White Sands is 4,000 sq miles

Mr. Adams said that in his role as the Chief of Staff of White Sands Missile Range, he was a civilian GS-15 which is considered the same rank as a Colonel. The position of Chief of Staff is normally filled by the most senior Colonel or GS-15.

Your reporter asked, “How big is White Sands?”

Mr. Adams said White Sands is 100 miles by 40 miles and expandable to 140 by 55.

Lake City is 12.43 sq. miles.

IT has been a serious issue with Lake City for some time, although it is straightening out.

Your reporter brought up the IT Lake City issues.

Mr. Adams explained he had over 150 people doing IT and seven public affairs officers.

If the City Agrees, What is the Adams Plan?
Workshops and the Future

Mr. Adams explained that after three to four weeks of fact-finding with the staff, community members, and business leaders, he would hold a workshop that included public participation and discussion.

He said the workshop's purpose would be to figure out goals for the first two years. He said this would also kick off a comprehensive or strategic plan "that includes everything."

Mr. Adams will be available by phone during tonight’s meeting to answer questions.


Mr. Adams had the final word: “It's going to take a little bit of trust for people on all sides to allow me to begin moving Lake City forward. I want to look holistically at the City. That means every part of the City.”

He added, “And one more thing. I’m ready to start Monday morning on May 2.”

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