The West Albany High School Band must think City Hall is filled with crazy people, given that we raise over a thousand dollars a year to listen to ear-splitting renditions of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University fight songs just before the annual Civil War game. I know some of us are missing a few dots on the dice, but I would add that if we are crazy, we’re crazy good.
I am most thankful for all the people who work for the City who do their jobs well every day and search for ways to be helpful and kind. I see it when we raise money for good causes, help out with a blood drive, donate sick leave, organize events, and otherwise find ways to make our community and workplace better. I routinely hear stories about City employees going out of their way to help others, and it reinforces my belief not only in those employees, but in all people.
The easy part of our jobs is the opportunity to help people and earn their gratitude when we do. I am equally thankful for those who enforce laws, rules, and standards that may generate some controversy, but ultimately make Albany a safer and better community. Few people thank our police officers when they receive a ticket, and I field my share of complaints about enforcing things like Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards in parking lots and other locations. I would be more concerned if I didn’t hear periodic complaints about City employees doing their jobs. It’s reassuring that most of the negative things I hear are about the rule itself rather than the person enforcing it.
We are often required to do difficult things, whether it’s enforcing an unpopular rule or carrying out a physically demanding task. Many of our colleagues assume a fair amount of risk just by showing up for work every day. I like to believe we fairly compensate employees, but I’m still grateful for all the people who do work I probably couldn’t handle.
My personal goal for this Thanksgiving, aside from eating myself into a stupor, is to use the day as a reminder to be more positive and thankful for the amazing opportunities I have been given and that are still available to me to experience the best in life. I am looking forward to a retirement where I can find ways to be of service and partially repay the debt I owe to the many people who have helped me throughout my life. This is my last Thanksgiving with the City of Albany and I am particularly grateful this year to all my fellow employees, including the Beaver fans, who make it a great place to work. Thank you and Go Ducks!