Two weeks ago, Historic City News reported that St. Augustine City Manager, John Regan, introduced the city commission to Jennifer L. Zuberer who serves as Communications and Resources Manager for the 450th Commemoration; and, at last night’s meeting, she really showed her stuff.
Regan and Heritage Tourism Director, Dana Ste. Claire, had to step-up and rescue the failing First America Foundation; for fear, well placed, that after nearly a year of playing musical chairs, absolutely nothing could be presented to the public that would justify the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at the four-year celebrations.
From the first 450th workshop called by Regan, it was clear that the city manager saw the writing on the wall — it was also clear that, despite his excellent job performance as a public administrator, he was not prepared to manage events of the scale proposed by the commission.
Prior to last night’s meetings, Regan met with Historic City News Editor Michael Gold and explained that he simply had become bogged down in the enormity of details and communications necessary to negotiate his way through the repeated planning and follow-up necessary to achieve the results he feels the community is expecting and deserves.
Unfortunately, you can’t clone John Regan — and you would need about four of five of him to realistically manage the Spanish Constitution centennial, Ponce de Leon discovery, Civil Rights Act commemoration, founding of St. Augustine, and still meet his responsibility to administer the management of the business of city government.
With guidance from Regan and Ste. Claire during her first days on a new job, Zuberer has been able to acquaint herself with the commemorations, learn the policies of the city and requirements of her position, locate the restrooms and coffee pot, and put together, in presentation form, the Strategic Master Plan for the City of St. Augustine 450th Commemoration. All of that work accomplished in less than two weeks.
In the interim presentation of the draft form of the Strategic Master Plan last night, it is very clear that Zuberer is earning her paycheck. Regan appeared relieved, re-energized and excited about the prospects for the anniversary events — telling Historic City News that there was no way this would have been possible without Zuberer’s talents and contributions to the team.
In an un-official verbal evaluation, Regan said that Zuberer has shown that she can accomplish the task and work under pressure without losing her cool. That was demonstrated last night as printed copies of the plan and its components were distributed to members of the commission.
Zuberer, who is a University of Florida graduate, is responsible for updating the city’s 450th website, calendar of events and meetings, be coordinator for citizen ideas and, generally, the interface for communications between the public and city on matters related to the 450th commemoration.