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Slaton Seeking Manager's Job in New Smyrna Beach

Lake Wales Commissioners Unaware of Job Search

Lake Wales City Manager James Slaton is on a short list of finalists under consideration to serve as city manager of New Smyrna Beach. Two Lake Wales city commissioners reached by Lake Wales News were unaware, and withheld comment.

Slaton, 46, has managed the city for almost four years after the prior city manager, Ken Fields, was forced to resign by unhappy commissioners. Slaton was offered the job in October 2020 after having served as an interim manager for over five months.

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Lake Wales City Manager James Slaton is on a shortlist of applicants seeking the position of city manager of New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County. The news caught city commissioners by surprise.

The news that Slaton is seeking a new position did not surprise some veteran city government watchers who cited the mixed results he has achieved recently, pointing to the firing and re-hiring of the chief of police within a week, which they described as an apparent bow to political pressure.

Slaton has presided over an administration that has reached to accomplish major projects, implementing the ambitious Lake Wales Connected plan that is steadily transforming the city's urban core. The project is expected to exceed $40 million, much paid for by grants that the city has obtained.

Slaton is also deeply engaged in the effort to adopt the new ordinances needed to bring the Lake Wales Envisioned plan to fruition. The plan is expected to help guide the enormous growth facing the city.

Reached via a text message, Slaton offered no comment but indicated that he was traveling with his wife. A city commissioner confirmed that Slaton would be out of town this week.

Filling the key staff positions to deal with city business has been an ongoing challenge for Slaton. Two key positions of deputy city manager and director of growth management were seemingly filled within the last 24 months, only to have him dismiss the new hires during their probationary periods.

The present interim growth manager submitted her resignation earlier this month.

Slaton began working for the city in 2003 as a contractor in Information Technology, eventually becoming the city's network administrator. In 2012 he became support services director, managing day-to-day operations, budgets and capital improvement programs for IT, fleet maintenance and purchasing.

Eventually the additional responsibility of managing parks and recreation, street maintenance, airport operations, facilities maintenance, procurement and cemetery operations were added to his duties.

He was named deputy city manager in 2017, overseeing nine departments including special projects.

According to the city's website, Slaton "holds a Master of Science degree in Management and Leadership, a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Public Administration, and an Associate of Science degree in Computer Network Engineering Systems."


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