John Anderson, City Administrator of Troutdale, has announced his retirement effective the end of October of this year. When he called me yesterday morning to say he was retiring, I was surprised and a little disappointed, but I understood his decision. John has been such a great asset to Troutdale. His extensive education, knowledge and experience in all things related to getting things done in a government environment will be sorely missed.
When I began my first term on the city council, my only prior government experience was one year on Troutdale's budget committee. John and I had several "bull and beer" sessions at McMenamins or the Quagmire tavern after city council meetings. It was great to be able to ask him about all the nuances of city government- the unique culture, the nuts and bolts of government financing methods, the realities of local government union bargaining, the relationships between local governments, the intricacies of the roles played between city staff and the city council. John gave me an education that you don't read about or learn about in any manual, formal training, or city code. We talked about how things REALLY worked.
John and I sometimes disagreed on policy matters. We have had a few heated discussions, to be sure. But, like me, I think he enjoys passionate discussion of issues. He understands discussion of contentious issues is business, never personal. John knows it's ok to agree to disagree. That's something that's sorely missing in Oregon politics.
What's next? Troutdale now needs to go shopping for a new city administrator. But we'll never be able to really replace John Anderson. He's one of a kind.