By Sean Howell
March 22 marked Kevin Duggan's last Tuesday night in the council chambers as city manager of Mountain View, though you got the sense that he might have trouble keeping himself away from goings-on at City Hall after his April 2 retirement.
The City Council approved a three-page resolution that ran down Duggan's myriad accomplishments in his 20 years at the helm of the city's professional staff, thanking him for his service and extolling his dedication, honesty, articulateness and conciseness.
Then Duggan delivered an articulate, concise speech in which he reflected on his tenure, commended the City Council and city staff, and discussed the pressing issues the city will confront in the months and years ahead.
He praised the council for its commitment to balancing the budget and for recognizing the importance of investing in the city's infrastructure — an area that often falls by the wayside in lean times, he said.
Duggan said he's also proud of building trails and community facilities, and expanding the city's parks and open spaces. Mountain View added 10 neighborhood parks during his tenure, with two more on the way.
And he stressed the city's work in generating new revenue and "leveraging property," noting that 10 percent of Mountain View's general fund income comes from leased land. Appropriately, the City Council approved a 53-year, $30 million lease by Google of land in the Shoreline area at Duggan's final meeting.
Duggan focused particular attention on an accomplishment less easily measured: the relationship between the city's government and its residents, and his own relationship with the various City Councils he served under during his tenure.
"The thing you should be most happy with ... is the kind of culture there is," he told the City Council. "How the community views the city organization, whether they trust the city organization or not — not that they always agree with what is done here in City Hall, but whether they think they'll always be heard, and whether they think their point of view will be considered, and whether or not they trust the basic integrity and honesty of their city government, is just so fundamental to any success that can be achieved.
"This culture thing is very delicate," Duggan continued. "It is extremely delicate. It needs to be worked on, it needs to be reinforced and worked on and can't be taken for granted, because you can lose it very easily. And when you've lost it, it's hard to get back."
In discussing pressing issues the city will face, Duggan found it difficult to extricate himself from those issues. "I keep saying 'we,'" he said. "I need to work on that."
"It's been a personal and professional pleasure," he concluded. "I couldn't have asked for a better place to work for the past 20 years." Members of the city staff and the City Council gave him a rousing ovation, then everyone settled back into their chairs: there were still council member reports to be heard.