You can call him city administrator if you want to, but Todd Drysdale said he’s still the same man he was before
“I’m not big on titles,” he said. “I just hope I can bring a positive effect on the city.”
Drysdale, who worked for the city for 14 years as its director of financial and administrative services, said becoming a city administrator was not “a lifelong goal,” but he was happy to step up once Mayor Joseph Peterson asked if he was interested.
“For me, it’s all about the organization,” Drysdale said. “Hopefully I can add value to the organization.”
Before Monday night’s appointment, Drysdale said, the city and its were running an estimated $80 million yearly operation without a leader.
“If you take a high level look at it, we have a unique organizational structure where no one truly is in charge on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “You have department heads reporting to a volunteer commission or a part-time mayor and council. Having someone on the job each day in charge will allow us all to work better collectively.”
Drysdale said his management style will be fair and respectful.
“When you look at how well-run sports teams or how leaders on well-run sports teams lead, they typically lead by example,” he said. “They don’t ask their people to do something they wouldn’t do.”
The 40-year-old has a master's degree in public administration and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Drysdale also is a licensed CPA. Before coming to Wyandotte, he worked at Deloitte & Touche and Johnson Controls.
Drysdale said he’s OK with the council’s decision not to bump up his $103,000 annual salary with the additional job responsibilities.
“It’s the wrong message to send to anyone in the organization when times are as lean as they are that someone would get a pay increase,” he said.
Money aside, though, Drysdale said it’s going to be a challenge to continue overseeing the city’s finances as well as leading the operations of the entire city without any additional staffing. But it’s a challenge he said he’s up for.
“A lot of the responsibilities of a city administrator, I have been doing for a number of years, just without the authority,” he said. “The leadership techniques were probably a little more subtle. There will be more work involved, no question. It’s probably the wrong time to add any work to a finance officer in a municipality because things are changing so often. … It will be a challenge. I think it’s something that we will constantly evaluate to make sure we are achieving all of the goals that we hope to have.”
While no drastic changes are on tap with Drysdale in charge, he said he hopes residents will notice a more cohesive team of city workers.
“We have a very simple responsibility and that is to provide good quality customer service to our citizens,” he said. “What I’d like to see is greater communication amongst departments and greater communication to mayor and council to provide them with better information so they can make the decisions they have to.”
Drysdale, who is married with three school-age daughters, said he plans to retire from the city of Wyandotte. Some day.
“If it’s bigger and better, it will be in Wyandotte,” he said. “I am here for the rest of my working career. Wyandotte will always have a special place in my heart. “