When a new employee for the city of Branson first sits down with City Administrator Stanley Dobbins, Dobbins likes to make it count.
“Inside these walls, I’m Stan – not Stanley, not sir, not Mr. Dobbins,” he says. “I dump my own trash because it is my responsibility. … If I’m out there driving on the road and I see someone has a flat tire, I can stop to change the tire.”
Branson’s former police chief, Dobbins describes himself as small-town-raised and duty-driven. He makes it clear his job is to serve others.
“The reason we get into this work is because we have a need to give to those that we serve,” he says. “It is our job.”
Dobbins says Branson’s willingness to serve is evidenced by voters recently passing a public safety sales tax by a 71 percent margin. From this tax, Branson will get new storm-warning sirens and hire additional police officers and firefighters.
In his new role, Dobbins’ goal is to tackle some of the greater issues facing the community, namely poverty.
“We have a huge poverty problem in this region. It has become an issue of mentorship of our children,” Dobbins says. “We’ve been arresting people for 200 years. It hasn’t worked. We’ve got to break this cycle.”
Dobbins suggests public servants view their position as not just a job but also a way of life.
“That policeman in a uniform is going to be a role model. Male or female, they will be someone that a child can rely on and look up to when there’s no one else for them,” he says.
Dobbins worked in law enforcement for 37 years until he accepted the city administrator position in November. Branson’s 2017 budget is $91.9 million.
His master’s and bachelor’s degrees are just icing on the cake of trainings, certifications and continued education classes, including the highest qualifications in police work the state of Missouri has to offer and national Federal Bureau of Investigation training.
With an eclectic tool belt, Dobbins plans to put his skills to use in a hands-on approach in managing the city – whether its running calls with police, driving a firetruck or operating a backhoe.
“I don’t like sitting behind a desk,” he says.
Dobbins says he holds everyone to a higher standard, but that he can’t be the only one with confidence in the community to make a difference.
“Then, we will be a better community, a better place to live and make a better world for our children,” he says.
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