Meet City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, ICMA-CM, AICP, CEcD
Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark (pronounced Rye-Vin-Bark) assumed the post of Coral Gables City Manager on December 15, 2014, managing a municipal government that serves 49,411 residents. She supervises a staff of 801 full-time employees and 112 part-time employees, and oversees a $160 million budget. She is one of three employees, along with City Attorney Craig Leen and City Clerk Walter Foeman, appointed directly by the City Commission.
Ms. Swanson-Rivenbark is the former City Manager for the City of Hollywood, a mid-size full service South Florida urban coastal city of 145,000 residents, 1600 employees (full and part time), 15 departments, and a budget of $497 million (including $219 million in General Fund). As City Manager, she designed a City-wide work program to implement Commission-driven priorities while also enhancing organizational culture, accountability, and team problem-solving. She developed new sustainable employee benefits, enhanced training programs, successfully negotiated 5 labor contracts (IAFF, AFSCME, and PBA), and facilitated a state-of-the-art public safety initiative involving Police Department, ISO Class 1 Rated Fire Department and active involvement from Public Works, Information Technology, Code Enforcement, Public Affairs, and Human Resources. Under her leadership, Hollywood was able to remove a “negative outlook” on bond ratings, build up reserves, and reintroduce capital investment. Prior to becoming City Manager, she managed a competitive RFP process for the private redevelopment of a six-acre, city-owned, beachfront property now known as “Margaritaville” and established a downtown Hollywood campus for Barry University’s College of Health Sciences.
Before joining the City of Hollywood, Ms. Swanson-Rivenbark was the City of Coral Gables Development Director, supervising economic development activities, including business retention, multinational recruitment, retail development, and public/private joint ventures through RFP process (i.e., the Gables Grand, the Village of Merrick Park, the remodeled Coral Gables Country Club, and the Palace at Coral Gables) which resulted in new revenues, right-sized development, new energy, and new tax base. She assisted in the purchase of Miracle Theater and the transformation to Actors’ Playhouse as a non-traditional anchor on City’s premier retail street, facilitated Coral Gables Art Cinema, and drafted Transfer of Development Rights to assist downtown historic properties. Under her leadership, Coral Gables launched several successful annual community experiences (“A Gables Fourth”, the Coral Gables Farmers Market, and Holiday Tree Lighting) and she assisted in the “Flamingos in the Gables” project and Gables Gallery Night. She drafted the City’s Art in Public Places program and revamped competitive cultural grant process to encourage quality, year-round cultural offerings. Cathy was awarded 2008 “Arts Hero Award” from Miami-Dade Arts & Business Council.
Cathy holds a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree from Purdue University. She is a credentialed City Manager (ICMA-CM), a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) with the International Economic Development Council.