Name of Professional: Henry Hill
Profession/Title: Deputy City Manager of Frisco
Business/Company name: Frisco City Government
After conducting informational interviews with multiple elected officials, I was excited to learn about a less political position in local governments. This past week when I entered my interview with deputy city manager, Henry Hill, I came with questions regarding how the city functions, instead of how officials represent residents.
Given that Frisco has a comparatively low tax rate to its neighboring cities, I asked how the city manager’s office balances funding diverse projects. I was curious how the budget accounted for infrastructural efforts for large projects, such as the 5 Billion Dollar Mile, while still dedicating the majority of the city budget to the police and fire departments and park development. His answer gave me great insight regarding the multiple duties of a deputy city manager. He explained how the City Council and mayor create the long-term visions for Frisco, as well as what they believe the budget should account for. Once the plans and budget are out of the council’s hands, the city manager’s office is in charge of ensuring that all city departments execute their roles to properly to implement city projects. When the city as a whole looks for funding, he explained that the mayor and Economic Development Cooperation work together to attract businesses that have the potential for growth. Their efforts have raised business and sales tax opportunities within the city, allowing for the municipal government to ensure solid infrastructure while avoiding raising property taxes.
I found this explanation incredibly interesting. Throughout all my past interviews within Frisco, I have been amazed at how the city holds onto its family-friendly image while still promoting business growth. As I have often heard that it is almost paradoxical to maintain a beneficial amount of government spending while maintaining a significantly low tax rate, I was both impressed and intrigued by the organization and dedication that fuels the hard work of city officials.
Recently, I have been polling my classmates and peers regarding their optimism for government actions, and I have received rather negative responses. I know I can only speak for myself. However, I left the interview with an incredibly positive outlook on what my local government could do. As I further considered Mr. Hill’s responses, I considered that he was obligated to give me a positive answers. Possible bias notwithstanding, I continued to notice the skillful development of my town. With an abundance of neighborhood parks and inviting restaurant patios and plazas, I personally feel as if Frisco prioritizes the happiness of families before the happiness of business executives despite rapid growth and expansion.
As the interview concluded, Mr. Hill stressed that local government is where he is able to see the most impacts of his service. It is where he can have the more personal impact on residents. At the start of this year, I was incredibly set on my goal of finding a job in the federal government. However, as I have come to realize the positive effects local government has had in shaping my quality of life, I began to rethink where my goals lead. The information from this interview not only exposed me to a different side of government, but it also challenged me to consider what I want to pursue in my future career.
Date of Interview: October 26, 2016