Introducing Sarah Hannah, Second in Command in Sunrise

Categories: Broward

This is Sarah Hannah, assistant city manager of the City of Sunrise. She makes six figures, she has mysterious tattoos, and if a few photos she put up on her Facebook page for all to see are any indication, she's a bureaucrat with a sultry side.

Even the interview she did with The Manager, a publication put out by the dry-sounding Florida City and County Manager Association, had an edge to it, with memorable quotes like "The fate of my espionage aspirations were sealed when I was branded with my first tattoo" and "I got into management so that others could find the paperclips for me."


Some folks in the city got wind of the Facebook photos, and it's become a bit of an issue, but for me, this is all in good fun. Count me as a fan if for no other reason than Hannah makes this place less boring. I have a call in to her for an interview. Read the Manager interview and see another photo in bed after the jump.

FCCMA Member Profile -- January 2010


By Karen Kolinski


Sarah E Hannah
Assistant City Manager, City of Sunrise
FCCMA Member Since 2003
Education: Bachelor's of Arts and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!)


Hobbies and Interests: I'm an entertainment buff (television and movies, mostly). I
also like to eat, play tennis, ballroom dance and scrapbook.


KMK: Yeah, well Go Gators (chomp, chomp, chomp)! How did you get started in local
government, as in what roles have you had and where?


Sarah: Actually, I always wanted to work for the feds -- as a spy. But as I got older and
realized that I might, you know, die or get hurt, I thought a nice office gig as the
Secretary of State or head of the CDC would be more my speed. The fate of my
espionage aspirations were sealed when I was branded with my first tattoo. In my late
twenties I went back to school to get my Masters in Public Administration at a school
where I could get in-state tuition. Because Kansas' program is all about local
government, I sort of fell into my current career. My first government job was with the City of Abilene, Texas. Then I was in Palm Beach for six years and I've been with
Sunrise for a little over three months.


KMK: Let me guess, your tattoo says, "I heart FCCMA?" Since my filters are working,
I won't bother to ask where it is. Instead, why doesn't everybody ask Sarah to show
them her tattoo at the Annual Conference in May. You just recently joined the City of
Sunrise. Changing jobs can be full of uncertainties. What factors did you focus on as
you made the decision to accept a position with Sunrise?


Sarah: I focused on my main career goal, which is to be a city manager in a town of
around 100,000 people. I want to work for a full-service, diverse community with a
gamut of issues and challenges. I knew that probably my best chance of reaching that
goal would be to get a job as the assistant in such a town. Another important factor in
searching for any job, I would think, is to work for a boss that is willing to also make an
investment in my success. Sunrise fits the bill darn near perfectly on both fronts. I really
lucked out.


KMK: The first days of a job are trying, sheez, knowing where the paper clips are can
be a challenge much less learning about the idiosyncrasies of your new colleagues. Do
you have any tips or techniques that help foster good working relations with your new
staff during the initial phases of socialization?


Sarah: First of all, I got into management so that others could find the paperclips for me.
But seriously, I was super nervous about being second in command in a city that was so
very different than the one I came from. But in the 17 years of my professional life,
because I have worked in many places in many different parts of the country - I've
learned to adapt. And actually my position in Sunrise has been a real confidence booster.
I've realized that I'm a pretty smart cookie and have actually learned a thing or two in my
almost, gulp, 40 years. Also, the CM of Sunrise is a former Fire Chief, so heck if he can
do it... So I guess my first tip would be to trust in your skills and talents.


Second, do not assume that your way is better than anyone else's. Sit back, soak it in, try
it their way and then make your evaluation - chances are, you have a pretty good,
committed staff that knows what they are doing. Third tip is to get involved and don't
complain. Offer to take on not only community projects, but also the office holiday
lunch. And do it with a big ole' smile on your face. Finally, while being appreciative
and respectful to others all the time, also stand your ground and make sure your
colleagues know that you mean business.


KMK: What is your favorite part of being a local government leader besides having
others find paperclips for you?


Sarah: Frankly, I just love all the night meetings...

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