By Leo Coughlin
Nothing is so much to be prized as quiet competence, performed without fanfare and using the tools that represent the investment of time and effort in the furtherance of one's abilities.
Sounds pretty fancy, hey?
But what is being conveyed here is this - don't underrate the competence of the folks working for the local cities and towns.
Often they go unsung and the good ones make those public servants who are inexperienced and are not professionals look all the worse. Show them up, in other words. But we won't go into that sad story today.
Instead, we will throw the spotlight to Belleair Beach and focus on a city staff that generally does top flight work and has as one of its members a trouble shooter who could be called "a man for all seasons."
Peter Cavalli comes prepared.
How do we know that? Look at the record. Look at the credentials the man has. They are very impressive.
As one member of a small staff, Cavalli does multiple jobs and he is well qualified to perform.
Belleair Beach is a small municipality. But it still has to do many if not most of the things a larger city, like Clearwater or Largo, has to do. Particularly in those matters dealing with the county and state.
Cavalli's official title is Director of Public Works and Information Technology.
His boss, City Manager Nancy McCollum Gonzalez, is no small shakes either. She has just received her Master Clerk certificate, a course she embarked on when she was city clerk.
But Cavalli's credentials are truly impressive. He has a huge number of certifications in addition to three academic degrees.
His college career began at St. Petersburg Junior College with an Associate in Arts degree.
Then it was on to the University of South Florida where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 2000. He followed that with a bachelor of science in environmental science and policy in 2005, and a year later got a Masters in Public Administration both at USF.
Cavalli by now must be a familiar figure on the campus of and in the halls of USF.
He is currently working on a degree in nonprofit management and also one in instructional technology, one aspect of which relates to web design and another to multimedia applications.
Then there is a flock of courses Cavalli has pursued in a range of specialties like ethics, leadership, public works management, supervision, budget development and administration, presentation skills, communications, ergonomics, and first aid.
He's had sessions as well at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
And pertinent to what municipal officials deal with locally, Cavalli has been schooled in storm water management in an extensive variety of applications.
With the kind of storms that this area of Florida can be subject to (hurricanes are rare here, but sea storms have raised a ruckus from time to time), Cavalli is prepared educationally to deal with that kind of problem having been backgrounded in "incident command system" with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
Cavalli has exposed himself to numerous FEMA courses and specialties in a list that goes on and on.
Add to that the emergency management backgrounding he has undergone through state educational programs and Belleair Beach can rest assured it has at least one official well grounded in what to do if the worst sort of thing happens.
And how about this - Cavalli has been instructed in radiological/nuclear and weapons of mass destruction and terrorism at Johns Hopkins and with the Department of Homeland Security.
Plus he has taken courses in monitoring of chemical agents, water safety, detecting pathogens (those are bad things) in food and water.
There is more. Cavalli's knowledge goes on and on, including emergency response, debris management and logistics. But you get the picture.
And he still puts in a full work week at Belleair Beach with a reputation as the city's top trouble shooter and "go to guy."
By the way, this may look at a resume for Cavalli and undoubtedly is. But from all indications he is perfectly happy where he is and is not job hunting.
Belleair Beach is lucky to have him.
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