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Webster City welcomes new City Manager

November 11, 2016
Adri Sietstra ( ,

Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez is no stranger to the workings of city government. The new Webster City City Manager, who officially began his position on Oct. 31, has experience in multiple cities

of various sizes.

Ortiz-Hernandez was formerly the City Administrator in Kimball, Nebraska, population 2,400. He was responsible for all aspects of the City, including overseeing its electric, water, sewer, garbage collection, and landfill utilities.

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"It was a great experience. I enjoy being in small communities and working more closely with the city council, employees, and staff," said Ortiz-Hernandez.

As he begins his new position, Ortiz-Hernandez's main priority is getting up to speed with the current community and issues at hand. He has interacted with the majority of city staff and employees as well as the City Council members.

"I want to first get settled in and find out just how the department and staff work to really get an idea of the details and in-and-outs of the organization," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "It's important to note that I work at the pleasure of the council. They're the ultimate decision makers on the goals and directions in which the city can head. I have to work hand-in-hand with all of them as a group, as well as each of them individually."

Ortiz-Hernandez also plans on meeting with city employees

one-on-one to gain insight about the current city issues at hand.

"The first few weeks I hope to meet with individuals on a one-on-one basis to get a feel and understanding of their perspective and history of their understanding and look back to the goals that were established in the spring of last year to see where change and modification need to be made," said Ortiz-Hernandez.

The public is also welcome to stop by City Hall to meet Ortiz-Hernandez. He also encourages the public to show him different parts of Webster City that he hasn't been introduced to yet. The 31-year-old is also bilingual, which provides an opportunity to engage with a larger portion of the diverse community Webster City has to offer.

"I very much believe in an open-door policy," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "For me it is important to communicate with the community, staff, and the public and be transparent with things happening within the city. You cannot build trust if you're not going to be open and honest. That is very important. It's not just about bricks and mortar. It's about developing relationships. Trust, openness, honesty, and fairness go a long way in establishing a positive rapport."

According to Ortiz-Hernandez, accomplishing goals and getting things done in the position of city manager is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time

to work towards making Webster City

the best it can be.

"It's challenging at times, because for some people, they want to see change, they want to see things done right away. Sometimes either the finances aren't there or opposite goals need to be worked on over a period of time," said Ortiz-Hernandez.

Community development has always been important to Ortiz-Hernandez.

"I truly believe that community/economic development is a three-legged stool. You're going to have your business side, the city and local governments, and the educational institutions," Ortiz-Hernandez said.

Ortiz-Hernandez is excited to get involved in the community and all Webster City has to offer.

"It was important that when I came out to interview, that my wife and daughter came with me to see the community and make sure it would be as good a fit for them as it was for the community with me," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "We all love the opportunities that are here in Webster City. There is a lot of

potential and it's just a great

place to raise a family."

Ortiz-Hernandez and his wife, Rachel, have one daughter, Abby, 13 months, and are expecting another child in late December or early January. Rachel formerly worked for the Division of Criminal Investigation as a grants manager. She also obtained her doctorate in sociology.

"I look forward to joining Webster City and working with its employees, the city council, and other leaders in the community," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "I look forward to the future here with a positive outlook."

"We've received a very warm welcome and we're certainly excited to be here," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "There is a lot of potential here in Webster City."

Ortiz-Hernandez has also served as a research assistant with the Alliance for Innovation in partnership with Arizona State University's Center for Urban Innovation. The Alliance for Innovation, in partnership with Arizona State University and the International City/County Management Association, is a network of local governments, universities and partners who are committed to promoting new ideas and emerging practices in local government, building cultures of innovation, and connecting thought leaders in the profession.

Ortiz-Hernandez received his B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge and Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in urban management from Arizona State University where he was also a Marvin Andrews Fellow.

"It was a unique program specifically geared toward people who aspire to be in city management," said Ortiz-Hernandez. "I was very fortunate to be a part of that program and to have the mentorships to help guide me down this path and where I am today."

He also completed the University of Arizona's Southwest Leadership Program and received a Certificate in Management and Organizations.

Ortiz-Hernandez has also been involved in the following professional groups: the International City/County Management Association, the Alliance for Innovation, the Nebraska City/County Management Association, Government Finance Officer Association, Nebraska Economic Developers Association, and has served on the boards of a variety of state and regional organizations.



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