Cedric Thomas – City Commissioner, City of Riviera Beach, FL 561-253-5775
Mr. Alston and Mr. Thomas first met in 2007. They have worked with each other in many areas of the community. Mr. Alston recruited Mr. Thomas to work for him in the City of South Bay as the Director of Code Enforcement and Compliance while he was still serving as a City official for Riviera Beach. He also worked with him as a community activist on several projects and in the political arena when Mr. Alston ran for State Senate. They continue to have regular contact. Mr. Thomas considers Mr. Alston to be a very good friend and thinks the world of him.
Mr. Thomas does not know of anyone who has more raw natural talent to manage a city than Mr. Alston. South Bay may be a small municipality, but Mr. Alston took it from being a city with incredibly low morale, without a clean audit for twenty years, and turned it into a respected, high functioning organization.
Mr. Alston’s elected officials love and trust him wholeheartedly. Even if they occasionally do not agree with him, they truly support him in all his efforts for the City. On a larger scale, he has a wealth of knowledge and close friendships with numerous individuals on a county, state and national level which he can tap into to help make any municipality better.
Mr. Alston strengths include being impeccably organized, especially in the midst of chaos. He has tremendous patience, a unique attribute for a person in his position. This approach allows him to achieve success in all his endeavors.
Mr. Alston does a fantastic job of communicating with others. He permits his staff to run their departments but still keeps them abreast of any issues pertinent to their area of government. While Mr. Thomas was working for him in South Bay they met on a weekly basis for status updates of any projects. Mr. Thomas always felt well informed.
Not only does Mr. Alston have experience with the public in South Bay, but he also serves in several other capacities in his home county of Broward, on various boards and committees. Saying he is a people person would be an understatement. He understands who he serves and ensures he delivers the best customer service possible.
Mr. Alston is a problem solver. He turned South Bay around considerably in terms of finances. When he arrived the City had a horrible deficit. In only a few short years he built up $1 million in reserves. He has a vision and works hard to make it come to fruition.
Some procedures Mr. Alston implemented were innovative in reducing costs for the City. These included changing the garbage contract and combining some departments to cut costs and be more efficient. He created a public/private partnership between the community and the City. He enlisted community volunteers to help run youth programs for Parks and Recreations, thus saving the City an immense amount of money without entirely cutting the programs.
Mr. Alston is extremely thoughtful when it comes to decision making because he does not want any regrets for a decision he is charged with. However, once he makes up his mind, he sticks to his guns and moves forward quickly. He is equally as thoughtful when hiring personnel. He recruits people with the right skills for each position.
Mr. Thomas is not aware of anything in Mr. Alston’s past that might be considered controversial or embarrassing if the press went digging into his background. He does a wonderful job as a City Manager. When the time comes to hire a new Manager for Riviera Beach, Mr. Thomas would love to recruit him.
Words or phrases used to describe Mr. Alston:
- Remarkable, and
- Deficit reducer.
Strengths: Simply the best all round person who gets the job done.
Weaknesses: Mr. Thomas likes people to be more aggressive so would prefer Mr. Alston to move a little faster on items, but realizes this desired characteristic is a matter of personal preference.