Monday, October 03, 2005

Vaca assistant city manager Ron Rowland calls it quits

Article Launched: 09/30/2005 06:57:31 AM

Vaca assistant city manager calls it quits

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Ron Rowland, whose last day as assistant city manager for Vacaville was Thursday, started working for the city in 1992. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

The cliche goes something like this: A longtime employee is so hardworking that upon his retirement, it'll take two people to fill his shoes.

Back-slapping aside, that's exactly what will happen in the case of retiring Vacaville Assistant City Manager Ron Rowland.

Rowland, whose last day at City Hall was Thursday, has served for the past three years as both an assistant city manager and community development director.

As one of two assistant city managers in the city, he helped direct the overall policy for Vacaville and led an interdepartmental team focusing on addressing the city's development issues.

As the community development director, Rowland was responsible for leading a growing staff of city planners in the development, reviewing and implementation of every new building - home or business - in the city.

The city has decided to hire two separate people to fill Rowland's roles - new Assistant City Manager Laura Kuhn starts Monday while a new community development director is still being sought.

Rowland said that taking dual responsibilities led to a heavier workload, but broadened his Vacaville experience.

"It was challenging, but a lot of fun," Rowland said. "I was able to stay involved with planning. But working in the city manager's office gave me a wider look at city government."

Rowland came to Vacaville as its assistant director of community development in 1992, after time as the city of Brentwood's planning director. Rowland moved up to the community development director spot in 1999.

In 2002, when David Van Kirk took over the city manager position, he made Rowland a deputy city manager. That title was changed to "assistant city manager" last year. Van Kirk said Tuesday promoting Rowland was one of the best decisions he'd ever made.

Van Kirk also said Rowland is one of the most ethical people in the business.

"Whether it's Genentech or a small business just trying to start up, Ron has treated everything with the same fairness," Van Kirk said.

A portion of Tuesday's meeting of the City Council was a laudatory session in which everyone with a microphone laid the compliments on heavily.

"I do not know of anyone I have more confidence and trust in," Mayor Len Augustine said.

Councilman Steve Wilkins said Rowland's ability to bring warring factions together was amazing.

"That's a skill and ability few people possess," Wilkins said.

Rowland said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and family - his first grandchild is due in October. He also said he'll continue being very involved with his church and may take up consulting in the future.

He said he'll miss the daily grind and his co-workers, though.

"Working for the public is just one of the greatest jobs you can have."

Tom Hall can be reached at

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