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Summer Reading at City Hall

But underneath all the fun is a clear breadth of experience, and a no-nonsense, practical approach to community building, which can be easily grasped.

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By Roy M Postel

06-30-22 Fernandina Beach

Looking for an inspirational book to enhance your summertime reading experience?

If you are among the top managers and city commissioners in Fernandina Beach the search is complete, thanks to City Manager Dale Martin. Earlier this month, Martin attended the annual meeting of the Florida City and County Managers Association.

“The presentation was intriguing and provoking,” Martin wrote of the meeting’s Keynote speaker, Canadian author Doug Griffiths. The title of his talk was 13 Ways to Kill Your Community. His remarks centered on stories taken from Griffiths’ book by the same title.

“I purchased eight copies of the book to share with the city commissioners and staff,” Martin revealed in a post last week on Fernandina Beach website.

Although unfamiliar with his work, Martin was impressed as Griffiths argued through anecdotes and wit that communities throughout the world have many common characteristics.

“Every community strongly desires to distinguish itself as exceptionally unique, but at its foundation…,” Martin writes, “Every community is extraordinarily common.”

The book is organized in a way that each chapter defines an aspect of community life, which if mismanaged, will become a flashpoint of contention and ultimate disfunction. There are 13 chapters, each titled with an issue and a warning to city government officials “Don’t…(insert issue here)” or trouble will ensue.

Here are some titles for our readers to contemplate:

  • Don’t Forget the Water
  • Don’t Ignore Outsiders
  • Don’t Deceive Yourself
  • Don’t Shut Out Your Seniors

The original edition of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community was published in 2010 and co-authored with Kelly Clemmer. The second edition in 2016 is now in paperback with contributions from Paul MacNeill.

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Roy M Postel
Roy M Postel
Roy M Postel is a resident of Fernandina Beach ("off Island"). He is a general assignment Citizens Journal Florida reporter with a keen interest in politics and history. He loves to investigate tips from fellow citizens. Contact him at [email protected]
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