Christian M. Sigman says he’s ready to hit the ground running as Brookhaven’s new city manager.
“What drew me here is [the council] has great visions and really wants to implement them,” he said during a short break while attending the council work session and City Council meeting on May 10.
“They want action … with parks and paving, they want to get things done,” he said. “They have the means and the will — let’s get things done.”
The council will vote May 24 to formally approve Sigman as the new city manager. His official start date is June 6. He was the sole finalist of four candidates interviewed by the council last month.
Sigman is moving to Brookhaven from Ohio, where was the administrator of Hamilton County. Cincinnati is the county seat. He held the post for five years.
As the county administrator, he helped lead the $338 million development of the high-profile “Banks Project,” creating a residential, work and entertainment district surrounding the stadiums for the two Cincinnati professional sports franchises — the Reds of Major League Baseball and the Bengals of the National Football League — along the banks of the Ohio River.
News reports from Ohio say Sigman was nearly fired from his job last year after some county commissioners became upset when he suggested the possibility of hiring a new developer for the Banks Project. Instead of firing him, the commission stripped him of handling the economic development duties and oversight of the Banks Project.
Specifically, Sigman raised concerns about developers Carter and The Dawson Co.’s slow progress in building a hotel. Carter is the master developer and program manager for the $287 million Sandy Springs City Center project.
Certain milestones weren’t met, Sigman said when visiting Brookhaven, and the pace of the project was not going as fast as he believed it was to be going, according to the contract.
“This was a city/county project … and I pushed pretty hard,” Sigman said. “Part of my job was to hold the developer accountable, whether schedule or quality of construction and tenants.”
Sigman said Brookhaven, as a new city, is not burdened by “legacy issues” and dealing with a long history of policies and precedents of how things have always been done. Helping shape a new city is part of the allure of the job, he said.
“This is like starting with a clean slate, starting from scratch … everything is blue sky here,” he said. “The city is seeking to be the best in class.”
Sigman said his first days on the job would be assessing the city and its makeup. But he does know that the first thing he will focus on is communication — laying out protocols on how staff will communicate with each other as well as with the council.
“I’m excited, I’m loyal and I want to be an active part of the city,” he said. “As city manager I will be available 24/7. You live the job,” he said. “You represent the organization and I look forward to representing this community.”