JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Warren Hutmacher, Johns Creek’s new city manager, was in the city April 2 to be introduced to the Rotary Club of Johns Creek/Fulton, and took a few minutes to sit down with the Johns Creek Herald at the Atlanta Athletic Club to talk about his new job.
Hutmacher is the former Dunwoody city manager who accepted the position in the city. This is his fourth job as a city manager, having also held that job in Norcross and before that in Avondale Estates. He was also the former assistant to the Marietta city manager.
He has a master’s degree in public administration from Ohio State University, and made the Georgia Trend magazine “40 under 40” list in 2003.
Hutmacher said Johns Creek was an appealing job, one that not only offered a chance for professional growth, but a city where he would like his family to live.
“It obviously has great schools; it’s a great community. My wife and I like it. It has a wonderful master plan. Johns Creek was at the top of the list of where we wanted to go,” Hutmacher said.
Asked to say what was at the top of his “to-do list” in Johns Creek, he said that is a bit of the cart before the horse.
“What I want to do is more listening than talking right now,” he said. “Johns Creek is extremely well run and has been very successful. I look at what the city does right first. Then look at the strategic challenges.”
He said taking the reins of Johns Creek will be a different set of challenges than he faced at Dunwoody, which was a blank page as he was the first city manager there.
“Johns Creek will need different tactics and a different approach,” he said.
The city has a number of strengths on which to build, he said.
“First, this is the premier residential city in Georgia,” he said. “Second, it has great schools. Third, it has a vibrant community full of successful professionals and volunteers.”
Service delivery is a strength for the city, and this means an attractive environment for employees.
“The city’s potential for great things is tremendous. Johns Creek’s brightest days are still ahead,” he said. “It has come a long way in its first seven years. I’m not walking into a crisis situation. There’s nothing to blow up and rebuild.
“Instead, I’ll look for areas of improvement and work on those,” he said. “But I’m still in the learning mode right now. The mayor and council will develop the vision and strategy. My job is to help implement that.”
To that end, one of the first things he will want is for the council to do some strategic planning. One part will look at day-to-day operations to see that the city has best-in-class services. Then, the vision for the city’s growth and direction must be determined.
“When the course for the future is set, it is my job to lend my professional expertise and that of our staff to make it happen,” Hutmacher said. “We have an opportunity for real cooperation with driving to achieve the city’s goals.”
Hutmacher is aware of the situation in the city that brought him here. He said he wants to end “any dramas” that might remain from the city’s “summer of discontent.”
“My job is to get us back to the fundamentals of blocking and blocking and tackling and collaborating on the road ahead,” he said. “The past eight or 10 months don’t concern me. I’m looking from this point forward.”