Peter Naghavi - The Perfect Public Servant
Last night I was honored to be invited to a little retirement party thrown for Peter Naghavi - the Costa Mesa employee with the longest title in the building. Currently his title is "Economic and Development Services Director/Deputy Chief Executive Officer".
MORRIS - MASTER OF CEREMONIES
The man who hired Naghavi in the Transportation Department almost two dozen years ago, retired Public Services Director Bill Morris, put this event together and was the Master of Ceremonies. He invited folks to stand and praise - or otherwise address - Peter Naghavi's long and illustrious career with the City of Costa Mesa.
ROEDER AND MORE
Among those who stepped up were former City Manager Allan Roeder, former council members Mary Hornbuckle, Jay Humphrey, Sandra Genis and current councilwoman Wendy Leece. Naghavi's current boss, CEO Tom Hatch, shown below with his wife, Vanessa, stepped up to praise him, as well.
Former co-workers like Perry Valantine, shown here with his wife, Pam and Naghavi, stood to share stories about their time with Naghavi. Valantine brought down the house when he identified himself as an 8-year retiree who has learned to speak in 3-minute increments.
HELEN BROUGHT UP THE TEARS
Employee association president Helen Nenadal stood and presented what may have been the most serious moment when she thanked Naghavi for "being there for us" during the very trying past nearly two years. She referred to the events of St. Patrick's Day, 2011 and praised Naghavi for being their rock - always there for them.
FREEMAN TEASED US
Former Segerstrom spokesman Paul Freeman stepped up and shared stories that I'm sure were edited for a "general" audience - there is probably a much more "adult-oriented" version that he really wanted to tell. Freeman and Naghavi have become great friends through their business contacts.
POIGNANT SPEECH BY HIS SON
Naghavi's son also spoke about life with his father and his friends.
THE CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONAL
The thread through all the comments made by Naghavi's friends and co-workers was that of a consummate professional - a man of his word that you could count on. Whether he was your peer, boss or subordinate, the message was the same.
PROUD TO BE HIS FRIEND
Personally, I've gotten to know Peter Naghavi over the years that I've been paying attention to city issues. He was always responsive to questions I've had for clarification on one issue or another. He never turned me away and, based on the comments last night, it sure sounded like that's how he treated everyone. He's been a cheerful, enthusiastic, honest man to deal with - again, part of the thread of the comments last night. He may have been the perfect municipal employee. I'm proud to be Peter Naghavi's friend and wish him every success wherever his post-retirement takes him. He's much to young a man to simply just pack it in, but I suspect there's a lot of travel in his near future. He will leave his post with the City in December and will be sorely missed.
(A special thanks to Soraya Julian for the use of several of her photos from the event last night.)