Hero Award Spotlight: Will Payne

Will Payne is the Performance & Budget Manager for City of Largo, Florida

Will Payne photo
  • The City of Largo adopted a high-performance organization framework to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. Will conducted training sessions, “Leaders at All Levels,” to facilitate change and support the development of leaders at all levels within the organization.
  • Will led a series of strategic planning training sessions and retreats to help the Recreation, Parks & Arts Department management team update their strategic plan and define their new vision of “strengthening the community by creating memorable experiences.”
  • He hosted several sessions outside of  business hours in the community to listen to feedback on the budget from residents and championed a digital tool to increase the number of residents able to engage in the budget process. Will devised a tax rate survey to allow residents to provide their thoughts on proposed millage rate changes in the upcoming budget without the need to come to in-person meetings. His initiatives provided the City Commission with feedback from hundreds of residents for consideration during adoption of the final budget.
  • Will recognized a pressing need within the organization to track and provide transparency on project statuses and progress. He created a new, user-friendly tool that enables project managers from different departments to share vital information on their respective project statuses with one another and the city administration.
  • In recent years, the City of Largo has been grappling with the issue of homelessness within the community. Will facilitated a program assessment of current resources to help the team identify gaps in funding and services necessary to support people experiencing homelessness. As a result, the policy team was able to make recommendations to address community concerns and help deliver actionable results.
  • In September 2022 Hurricane Ian, a devastating Category 4 hurricane, ravaged the west coast of Florida. Although the Tampa Bay area escaped a direct hit, the City of Largo's emergency response effort was activated to deal with the storm’s aftermath. Will played a crucial role in response effort by helping distribute thousands of Meals Ready-to-Eat from a distribution point hours before the storm made landfall to the first responders, critical infrastructure support staff, and other team members mobilized to deal with the crisis. He also ensured that his team was equipped with the necessary training to help Finance Department staff review ICS Activity Log Forms as needed, which ensured that city team members were paid correctly for their work and that the city received the proper reimbursement for eligible storm-related overtime and debris removal from FEMA.