Posted By admin on August 25, 2009
Name: Clint Fichter
Tell us about your family: I have five children; Annaka (11), Kale (10), Josiah (9), Grace (2), and Lydia (1). My wife’s name is Monica; she and I met while we were in college. Monica was a Catholic school teacher in Des Moines prior to us moving to Avoca. Our life together has been a terrific love story.
What is your hometown? I was born in Council Bluffs on March 28, 1977, but I was raised on a farm north of Sidney, Iowa. I graduate from Sidney High School in 1995. My experience growing up on a farm and living in a small town shaped me immensely.
Where are you employed? What is your title? I work for the City of Avoca; I am the City Manager.
Tell us a little bit about your professional achievements? My career has always been orientated toward public service. I served as a staff member in the Iowa House in Representatives, was Community Services Director for the City of Windsor Heights, Iowa, and am currently the City Manager of Avoca, Iowa. Most of my professional achievements involve the planning and implementation of new projects, initiatives, and special events. I always try to focus on achieving those goals which will have the greatest long term impact.
What volunteer efforts are you involved with? My position as a City Manager naturally involves me in many boards, commissions, and committees.
Most of my volunteer work right now centers on the economic and community development of Avoca and rural Pottawattamie County. We have tremendous opportunities right now, and the area has to take advantage of them to do right by the next generation.
Why do you volunteer? It is part of having a position of public service.
How do you balance your professional career and personal life? I always focus on doing what is most important at any particular moment. Sometimes that means work takes precedence, other times it means my personal life takes precedence. You have to be flexible and have the support of your family to be flexible. My life is pretty busy; probably too busy.
What is your favorite pastime/hobby? My work and my family consume all of my time. I love my family and my profession; I have no interest in idling away time on a hobby.
What about your job keeps you motivated? City Managers work long days and have inconvenient hours, but I wake up every morning excited to go to work. Every day is a new experience in community building and advancement. Some days are difficult and setbacks occur often, but there is no career better suited for someone interested in public service. The best part is seeing a community vision come together and be realized despite all the hard required.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? The most important attribute, in my opinion, is that you have a strong desire to serve the public and be deeply involved in public affairs. You also have to be creative and be able to solve problems, problems that sometimes will become political and difficult. If you have those, the rest can follow. I would also recommend earning a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from a NASPAA accredited program and to join the International City/County Management Association as a student or nongovernmental member.
What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? People are all too often either not informed or not interested in our public processes and system of government. This lack of knowledge and interest has terrible implications as we try to solve local, state, and federal problems, because it often prevents us from rationally pursuing solutions. The world cannot be reduced to liberal vs. conservative, nor can it be reduced to straw-man arguments on talk radio or news broadcasts. America’s founding generations realized the importance of an informed citizenry to our republican form of government, but we have nearly lost it in our insipid popular culture, over-emphasis on creature comforts, and the constant need to be entertained.
Who has been a key mentor in the workplace or life for you and how did they help you? I have had many mentors and I cannot single any one out. My advice is to choose your mentors wisely and always utilize their experience. The best mentors have a zeal for their work, see value in raising up the next generation of professionals, and are good teachers. My mentors have always helped me gain experience by giving me projects and duties that were beyond the scope of my official job description.
What are you most proud of having accomplished in your professional career or personal life? Marrying my wife was a great accomplishment as she is the nicest, most decent person I have ever known. Our kids our wonderful and I am sure will be our greatest contribution to the world.
In my professional life I am grateful for completing graduate school and for having the chance to work in a field I love.
What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (include author if possible)? Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God, and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God shows Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him. It’s impossible. The only thing is that we don’t see it. (Thomas Merton)
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? That difficulties, failure, and falling short are just part of everyone’s life. Realizing that allows me to take risks or try new things, despite exposing myself to failing or looking stupid every now and then. To me setbacks and failures are just part of the process of growing and maturing, whether it is for me as an individual or the community I am serving in.
What is the one goal that you would most like to accomplish? To help develop a community management and development model for rural Iowa that can be replicated and implemented successfully in many types of communities.
What do you enjoy most about working in the Council Bluffs community? Being close to my relatives and having the best of both the rural and metropolitan area.
How long have you been a part of the Council Bluffs community? I have lived in the Council Bluffs area all my life, except for my years in college. I plan on being in the area for the long term.
If you could describe Council Bluffs in just 3 words, what would they be? “Crossroads of America”… isn’t that the official motto or something?