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Cloverdale Comments - June 2016

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Cloverdale Comments - June 2016

by Carol Russell

“I can assure you, public service is a stimulating, proud and lively enterprise. It is not just a way of life, it is a way to live fully.” -- Congressman  Lee H. Hamilton

This month’s column continues to introduce readers to the people who care for Cloverdale. Since she’s a city council member, Carol’s once again stepping back and I (Reece) am the lead reporter as we get to know City Manager Paul Cayler and Assistant City Manager/City Planner David Kelley.   

The commonalities between Paul and David became apparent immediately. They both grew up in Northern California--Paul in Sacramento, David in Napa (before it became a tourist town). They both attended Chico State and they both changed majors. 

How they entered public service is the point of divergence. Paul started out as a computer science major, quit after a year, spent time in an exchange program in Mexico, and, on returning to college, switched to a major in Public Service. He benefitted from an internship that lasted until his graduation after which he was hired full-time in “waste acceptance control” and, in 1992, accepted a position in Mendocino County where he stayed for 16 years as Director of Waste Management before becoming City Manager of Willits.

David started his college career focused on Dietetics and Food Administration. The program was cut and the question became: “What do I do now?” Raised by a single mother and acutely aware of the polarized view of equity, he decided there was no better way to explore that topic than a major in economics. When required to sit in a city council meeting for a planning class, he became fascinated by the intertwining of economics, policies, planning, and the community. Ah, ha! Public Service! Upon graduation, David entered the workforce moving between for-profit and non-profit entities with a focus on city planning and public administration.

Paul and David came via different routes to public service, but for similar reasons: the love of small towns; the desire to give to the community; the awareness of a need for balance; and the joy of engaging with the public. 

Paul considers visibility and engagement with the community an important aspect of his work. Being a member of organizations such as the Rotary Club, a friend to the Kiwanis, and a willingness to pick up trash after Friday Night Live to help with cleanup reflect this ethic. Visibility and accessibility extend to his employees as well through his leadership. A challenging component of his work is the support of the City Council –popular or not, whether he agrees or not, he finds a way to implement their decisions.

David is new to Cloverdale. He has yet to fully establish his presence, but the vision is there. Vital to Cloverdale’s forward movement is the continued creation of a vibrant downtown as a gathering place with the ability to wave and say “hi”, a downtown that has the community support and is locally driven. Continued engagement of citizens, communication and the willingness to work together from all sides – be it the community members, the City staff, or the Council members - is what will facilitate positive change within Cloverdale, keeping its small town charm and warmth.

What I observed as I talked with both Paul and David is that both men are deeply committed to Cloverdale, in particular as a community of people. They want to keep the small town feel in all its friendliness and warmth. They both are acutely aware that finding the balance between developing and keeping the community is what will enable Cloverdale to retain the individual character, so easily lost. The combined strengths of two men coming from different directions will certainly give Cloverdale an opportunity to do just that.

Both Paul and David gave its friendliness, its warmth and the willingness of its community members to offer a warm “Hi!” to everyone they meet as one of the most important reasons to be in Cloverdale. To quote Paul: “People in Cloverdale are friendly, super friendly.” 

Our characteristic friendliness, exemplified by the frequency with which you hear   “Hi!” here, was the same reason all five members of the City Council came to Cloverdale. Please think of Cloverdale Comments as my way of saying “Hi!” to you.