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Meet the Candidates: Norton N. Bonaparte Jr.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:58 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

Personal

He is 52, married, and has a 30-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son.

Professional experience

Currently serves as city administrator in Plainfield, N.J., and has held the position since April 2003. He served as the city business administrator in Camden, N.J., from October 2000 to April 2003; township manager in Willingboro, N.J., from January 1995 to September 2000; and city manager of Glenarden, Md., from September 1988 to June 1994.

Education

Received a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in 1977 and a Bachelor of Science in urban studies from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., in 1975.

Other information

He is president of the New Jersey Municipal Management Association, treasurer of the Tri-County Chapter of the American Red Cross and a board member for the Rotary Club of Plainfield/North Plainfield.

Q

What challenges have you faced in your city that have prepared you for the Columbia job?

A

“This is going to be a real change for Columbia with Mr. Beck having such a long tenure. What I have done in the past is work with elected officials to do strategic planning. The role of the city manager is to work with both the elected officials and the city staff to see what the areas are that the city needs to go to. I have done that many times before, so I can do that in Columbia.”

Q

What attracts you to Columbia?

A

“Columbia is in the Midwest, and I’ve been in the East Coast for several years. But I’ve worked in Grand Rapids, Mich., and my wife is from Michigan. We’re looking for a change back to the Midwest lifestyle. And the timing is just perfect right now.”

Q

What is your greatest accomplishment in city government?

A

“Facilitating action. I know that’s not a single accomplishment, but it has a lot to do with what I want to be doing. What I see the role as the manager is the link between the elected officials and the city government: getting the various parts of the city to come together and get things done and bettering the whole appearance of the city.”

— Matt Graham and Millie Munshi


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