Mountain View Voice

Opinion - April 8, 2011

Duggan was one of a kind

Some city managers work hard for good ratings so they can build a resume for the next job in a larger city, with a bigger paycheck. Kevin Duggan had an entirely different approach.

In his 40 years as a city manager, he only jumped ship once, coming to Mountain View 22 years ago after a stint managing the small South Bay city of Campbell.

But from the time he arrived here, Duggan realized that he had plenty to keep him busy for a long time, whether that was the rest of his career or something less. As it turned out, the city manager used his superb people skills to build one of the most successful small cities on the Peninsula, with a vibrant downtown and a Shoreline area that is the envy of the city's neighbors.

Perhaps his biggest coup was convincing Google founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page that Mountain View was the ideal location for a company that knew it would grow and wanted assurances that the city would be supportive. The rest is history, as Duggan helped engineer a deal that continues to see Google investing in Shoreline property that will pay dividends to the city for years to come.

There were many other smart moves along the way that in retrospect turned out to be prescient. Both the Shoreline and Downtown improvement districts were a huge factor in financing the city's growth. The redesign of Castro Street and the Transportation Center accelerated development of the city's famous restaurant row that attracts thousands of visitors every week.

A new City Hall and Performing Arts Center were completed under Duggan's watch, as well as a new public library and nearly a dozen neighborhood parks. The Stevens Creek Trail now makes it possible to walk, run or cycle from downtown to Shoreline, a tremendous asset that includes bridging some major freeways.

But bricks and mortar by no means tell the story of Kevin Duggan over his long career. His people skills are legendary, exemplified by the several hundred former colleagues and coworkers who attended his standing-room-only retirement celebration last week at the Senior Center, a venue he helped create.

Obviously relishing his future which, he said, will not including any City Council meetings, Duggan regaled his appreciative audience with often hilarious tidbits and memorable objects he has gathered over his 40 years in the business, like an ageless tortoise and a fortune from a Chinese cookie he used to pad out one of his first job interviews.

Duggan has lived in Mountain View for a good part of his life and said he has no plans to leave. He will be missed by a city that in many ways he brought into the 21st century, but luckily, he has carved a path that shouldn't be that hard to follow for his successor.

Comments

Posted by sid, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 10, 2011 at 5:37 am

"Some city managers work hard for good ratings so they can build a resume for the next job in a larger city, with a bigger paycheck. Kevin Duggan had an entirely different approach."


Huh? Duggan was the highest paid City Manager in Santa Clara Valley and the state! And he handed out high salaries to everyone around him. And the city will be paying for his and their pensions of years to come!


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