Human resource professionals and my professional association, ICMA, have given great attention over the last ten years or so to the “silver tsunami” that is changing the composition of the workforce now and for at least another decade. The departure of the Baby Boom generation from the workplace is depleting the supply of experienced workers and making some vacancies hard to fill. City managers have been encouraged to plan for this trend and promote younger workers to positions where they will be ready to step in when their seniors retire.
I have been something of a curmudgeon about this line of thinking because I believe that the next generation is probably just as smart, educated, and capable as those they will replace, even if they are fewer in number. Nonetheless, I have made some decisions in recent times to promote people who I thought would make capable leaders of this organization into the future.
The announcement that our Assistant City Manager, Mark Shepard, will become the city manager of Corvallis next month reaffirms my original choice not to worry about future leadership. I know Mark will be an outstanding manager for Corvallis, despite my hope that he might have become an outstanding city manager here. How was I to know he was taking the whole Beaver/OSU thing so seriously? I guess the fact that he’s lived in Corvallis for more than 20 years and continues to wear orange and black on days other than Halloween might have been clues.
We will miss Mark, but his departure provides opportunities for people who have earned promotions to new levels of responsibility. Jorge Salinas, our IT Director, will be assuming the title of Assistant City Manager/Chief Information Officer, while Chris Bailey will become our interim Public Works Operations Director and Jeff Blaine will be Interim Public Works Engineering & Community Development Director. I am grateful we have the talent within our organization to take on these important jobs.
Mark’s departure leaves a void, and not only because I’m losing my favorite target to torment during football season. He has consistently been a source of good advice and good humor, while reliably doing the difficult work of managing the city’s development processes. Mark’s integrity and competence will serve the City of Corvallis well for years to come.
Just as Corvallis is benefiting from our loss, we have gained from the arrival of Bob Richardson and Jeanna Yeager, who worked for many years for the City of Corvallis. I expect we will make other trades in the future as people seek opportunities for advancement that a single organization can’t provide. I would like to extend my thanks to Mark for his 22½ years of service to Albany, along with my congratulations on accepting what I’m sure will be exciting new challenges in Corvallis.