City Manager Fields Named Public Servant of the Year
Last updated 5/14/2019 at 3:14pm
City Manager Ken Fields was named Public Servant of the Year at the May 9 Annual Awards Gala of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council.
The award was presented by last year's winner, Kathy Bangley, the city's director of planning and development. She said when she won the award she didn't realize she'd be presenting the next one to her boss. She cited his 30 plus years' experience in government and the private sector.
"To be a public servant is to work for the common good. It is the ability to imagine and articulate the public value that can be supported and embraced by the community," Bangley said. "Through his stewardship we find ourselves at the threshold of moving Lake Wales forward as a united community..."
Fields began as Lake Wales city manager in 2013. He said in his 30 years in government, his staff in Lake Wales is the best he's ever worked with: "The people that I have the pleasure working with are just fantastic. They are the public servants who are out there every day. I'm a firm believer in pub service; I'm a firm believer in giving back to the community."
Fields said "I just love Lake Wales. I just love what the staff is doing here, what the community is doing here. It's really the pinnacle of my career in terms of watching the community come together, saying we're going to roll up our sleeves and we're going to make this the best city to live in in Polk County, Central Florida and the whole state."
Recognizing the award on its Facebook page, the city listed some of his accomplishments over the past five years, which include:
• Initiated City management and modernization of the Depot Museum Lake Wales History Museum leading to increased staffing, programming, grant funding and attendance
• Privatized marketing of the former Long Leaf Business Park properties leading to major sale of almost all remaining city owned parcels, increasing City tax base and facilitating future development
• Expanded City utilities to encourage development along SR 60 corridor including reuse of vacant buildings by GrowHealthy and American Perlite Garden
• Oversaw implementation of systematic assessment of City roads leading to multi-year street resurfacing program
• Reinstated City Recreation staffing leading to better coordination between user groups and expanded activities such as Family Movies and access to the Lake Wales Family YMCA swimming pool for city residents
• Began programming use of CRA funds for redevelopment of Downtown, initiation of a Master Plan for the Northwest District, incentive program for restaurants and food businesses in CRA area, and development of housing programs including affordable and elderly living facilities based on priorities of Main Street and Northwest Area Advisory Committee
• Reinvigorated Lake Wales Main Street with matching City funding and paid Executive Director leading to initiation of a privately funded Master Plan for Downtown revitalization and increase in Downtown Special Events
Fields has announced he likely will retire within three years. He has previously served as manager or assistant manager for the City of Hollywood, Islamorada, Village of Islands in the Florida Keys, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
He began his career in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he served as Director of Budget and Research and Chief Labor Negotiator. He also worked in the private sector as a Management Consultant to state and local governments based in Washington DC and as the business administrator for a software research institute associated with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He is a member of both the International City/County Management Association and the Florida City and County Management Association.
Fields holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.