The conclusion of the fiscal year always seems to include a number of departures from the City, and this year is no exception. I don’t know everyone who is leaving, but I know I will miss Heather Hansen, Craig Carnagey, and Kevin Hamilton.
Heather, our Community Development Director, started as a planner with the City not long after I began work here. I first met her when she worked for the Lane Council of Governments in Eugene while I was working as the city administrator in Oakridge. Heather’s kind and caring personality combined with a great work ethic led to promotions here that included the Planning Manager’s position and Community Development Director. She is not leaving because anyone I know here wants her to, but because she understands there is more to life than work and she has an opportunity to explore new territory (literally and figuratively) in Florida. I have already warned her about alligators, hurricanes, and water moccasins to no obvious effect. Heather has made great contributions to the community, including her work on the South Albany Area Plan, Goal 5 compliance, flood plain administration, the completion of Periodic Review, and supporting the Mayor’s Business Ready Task Force to name a few.
Craig started work as the City’s arborist and eventually found himself managing facilities and the City’s park maintenance efforts. I got to know Craig through his interest in the International City-County Management Association’s (ICMA) Emerging Leaders Development Program. Craig committed many hours of his off-duty time to completing the ICMA program and preparing himself for greater city management responsibilities. The program requires someone to serve as a mentor, and I was pleased to work with Craig in that role. Craig is moving on to the City of Eugene where he will be starting a new job managing a work group with more than 80 employees.
Kevin has, by every account I’ve heard, done an outstanding job as our engineering supervisor, but has decided to go back to school and finish a program he started some years ago. The common thread about all three of these departures is that everyone is leaving to pursue a personal goal rather than because of retirement or a problem. I think the City of Albany has had a long-term commitment to hiring really good people, and part of the consequence of that policy is that our employees have choices about where they will work or live. I hate to see them go, but I appreciate their many contributions to Albany and join them in celebrating their success.