The retirement of City Manager Don Penman will be a loss for the City of Arcadia.
Don is pretty unflappable and extremely knowledgeable. He also runs a very smooth and efficient staff, much of which he has shaped with shrewd hires.
His transition from longtime predecessor Bill Kelly could not have gone smoother.
Arcadia was fortunate that Don opted to postpone his retirement until after the recent challenging budget process was completed-–sure, the City picked up his retirement insurance, but it still would have been a very easy decision for Don to step down months sooner, which he told me a year ago he was considering.
Don has been nothing but terrific, supportive and responsive with me on every level, from always quickly returning my calls and emails as a reporter for ArcadiasBest.com and providing guidance and assistance and City support on Historical Markers for the Arcadia Historical Society, to helping us navigate City processes regarding the inaugural Arcadia’s Best Patriotic Festival and helping with my transition in becoming Executive Director of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce this year.
“Surprisingly, it was difficult to actually make the announcement,” he told me last week. ”The people I have worked with have been wonderful and this community is terrific, but I am looking forward to doing some things I haven’t had the chance to do in the past.”
We also wish Don well with his future, which will not come until October and perhaps a few months longer if the hiring of his successor takes longer than expected.
That’s a possibility since the obvious internal choice to succeed Don, Assistant City Manager Jason Kruckeberg, has taken his name out of the running, which is too bad, since Don appointed Jason to that post, where Jason has been a quick study.
This has been an extraordinary year of retirements of top City officials that has included retirements of the Police Chief and his top Captain, the second-in-command at the Fire Department, the Arcadia Public Library Director, the longtime head of Methodist Hospital, the top Chamber of Commerce executive, and now the City Manager.
While most of the other positions have been filled by promoting from within or have already named successors, Don’s shoes may be the hardest to fill - especially when recruiting from out-of-town--and perhaps the most important to the future of Arcadia.
But that’s for Arcadia to worry about. For Don and his wife, Debbie, we wish them a worry-free future of travel, gardening and anything else they choose to do.
Read more by Scott Hettrick at ArcadiasBest.com.