Before selecting a major in college, Allen Bogard had a desire to become an attorney. As he worked toward his degree in political science, however, Bogard said he realized the important role of local government.
Bogard enrolled in his master's degree, started his first city job and was married all in the summer of 1976. He worked for the cities of Dallas and Plano before moving south to Fort Bend County.
Bogard came to Sugar Land as a consultant to the city manager in the summer of 1994. He was hired as assistant city manager at the beginning of 1995 and accepted the city manager position in 2001.
What do you like most about working for Sugar Land?
Sugar Land is a completely different place. I had been working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and one of the main things I saw very quickly was Sugar Land had a completely different philosophy in the manner in which the city worked with development. When I came to Sugar Land, it was a much more cooperative partnership approach.
Describe some of the challenges facing Sugar Land.
I have been working with the city approaching 20 years—13 years as city manager. I am at the place in my career where I am looking at the horizon more as being the sunset than the sunrise. The net effect of that is I spend a lot of time thinking about the sustainability of the city in the future, and I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to make sure I am turning the city over to its next leaders in as strong a position as I possibly can. That idea of sustainability covers everything from the leadership of the city organization, the financial condition of the city, the condition of its infrastructure, our economy, our ability to generate jobs for our residents—all of those things are what I spend a lot of time contemplating: "How can we position the city to meet its full aspirations?"
Sugar Land recently held a bond election for local parks projects. What are the next steps?
[The city] has the financial ability to take care of all the basics. What we were concentrating on with this bond election was quality of life issues. We knew there should be a robust debate within the community, and that is what we got. We ended up with the residents voting to approve the projects they felt were important to their quality of life. [Proposition 1] did not pass, but the ones that did pass I believe were seen as having a communitywide impact. We have agreed upon a conceptual plan that will be presented to City Council in their five-year capital improvement program that they will be considering this summer and adopting in August or September. [The plan] will specify which projects and in which order [they] will be implemented. We anticipate all the projects within the two propositions that passed will be either completed or under construction within five years and all completed within seven.
What can Sugar Land residents look forward to in the future?
The implementation of the pedestrian and bicycle study recommendations where we can make Sugar Land more accessible outside of the vehicle, I think, will be very important to our quality of life. We are having great success in economic development and bringing jobs to our residents.
What does a city manager do?
The purpose of a city manager form of government is an attempt to remove politics from the administration of services to the community.
The city manager leads the city organization and is responsible for carrying out the polices adopted by city council. Duties range from approving the city budget to managing staff members.
City managers do not stand for election. To compare a city to a business, the city manager is CEO and city council is the board of directors.
I strive to assist the Mayor and City Council to create consensus among themselves. Once I have consensus, I have direction. I am then able to take that direction and utilize all the resources within my control—which is the entire city organization and financial structure—to implement that direction.