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November · Volume 90 · Number 10



Ed Mitchell is city administrator of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Moving Up: Ed Mitchell

Ed Mitchell, who has been West Palm Beach, Florida’s city administrator since 1999, says, “Every day is different. There are so many issues.”

Education: B.A. in political science from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont; M.S. in public administration from Suffolk University in Boston.

Age: 46.

Personal: Widower; two children, Shauna, 13, and John, 15. They live in West Palm Beach.

Hobbies: “Activities with my children, going to the gym, reading, and rooting for Boston sport teams.”

Career highlight: “This year (the city of West Palm Beach) closed a $9.5 million deficit. And we’ve built a strong team of department directors.”

Recent accomplishments: When Ed Mitchell came to work for the city of West Palm Beach, Florida, as an intern back in 1987, little did he know he’d be back one day. He returned in 1993 as an assistant city administrator, then advanced to city administrator in 1999.

As an intern, he helped the city return to financial health, and that experience continues to serve him well.

During a meeting in May [2008] in Marco Island, Mitchell was chosen to head the Florida City and County Management Association as board of directors president. He gave his welcoming address at the conference’s awards and business luncheon, emphasizing his priority of improving the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University.

The institute focuses on improving local government and public service academics, professional development, and creating a forum for local government issues and challenges in Florida. The association has more than 500 members, making it one of the largest state local government management associations nationally. It works closely with the International City/County Management Association.

Ed Mitchell’s favorite quote:
“It’s not what you do in life, it’s what you do for others.”

Being city administrator has its challenges, says Mitchell, who oversees 1,700 employees and a $400 million budget. “Dealing with tax cuts and decreased city revenues each year have put a few gray hairs on my head,” he said. “But this year, we closed a $9.5 million deficit.”

Although his dad, an attorney, pushed him to become a lawyer, Mitchell said he always had an interest in working for a local government. He enjoys the diversity of his job. “Every day is different,” said Mitchell, a native of Clinton, Massachusetts. “There are so many issues.”

The city itself holds much appeal, too. “West Palm Beach is a big city with a small city feel,” Mitchell says.

In his spare time, Mitchell has been active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, both as a board member and a Big Brother. He also has been a soccer coach and is a member of St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach.

—Mary Thurwachter
Staff Reporter
Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach, Florida

Reprinted with permission from the July 6, 2008, PalmBeachPost.com, the Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Florida, copyright 2008.

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