Friday, March 04, 2011

Allan Roeder's Retirement Dinner

Well, that was fun! Last night, as a guest of our friends at the Orange Coast College Foundation, I attended what Master of Ceremonies Peter Buffa jokingly referred to as the "4th Allan Roeder Farewell" event this week at the Westin Hotel and it was a blast! I don't know the exact headcount, but I'm guessing well over 250 people came to wish retiring City Manager Allan Roeder a fond farewell and a happy retirement.

The ballroom was packed with movers and shaker
s - and some of the moved and shaken - from all over Orange County. Former mayor Buffa tried to name all the dignitaries - a process that took a long, long time - and still missed a few, including a couple sitting at his own table! I'm certainly not going to try to list them all, but I may mention them in context as it strikes me as I write this. As he went on and on naming the "Honorable Council Member so and so" and the Honorable City Manager so and so", I was feeling just a little unworthy - kind of like a serf in a room full of barons. Knowing many of the players and their egos, I found myself grateful for the tall ceilings in the ballroom.

There were city managers from all over the county; former Costa Mesa council members and mayors; the entire current Costa Mesa city council(except Eric Bever);current and past state legislators; columnists and other members of the media and on and on and on. Those folks who like to work a room during this kind of an event almost didn't know where to start!

I had to chuc
kle, for example, as representatives from Facilities Management West and the current Fair Board flitted from table to table like slightly pudgy butterflies, looking for nectar among the influential.


As I looked around the room from my perfect vantage point near the back wall I smiled as I saw the pairings of attendees conjured up by the magic seating chart in the sky. I tried to imagine some of the table talk that was going on during dinner - a fine feed, by the way.

Since Register columnists Barbara Venezia and Frank Mickadeit both were up front and close to the action I suspect they will provide us with their own special brand of reportage on this event. I look forward to those efforts.

There were several highlights for me last evening. Buffa, of course, really knows how to rock a room and did his usual masterful job of keeping things moving. As always, his schtick was laced with irreverent zingers about officials present and not present. He and Mayor Gary Monahan ran a little tag team routine that seemed to work. By the way, Buffa's Italian, so if you ever want to shut him up, just grab his hands.

Monahan presented Roeder with a special sign which signified the re-naming of the Costa Mesa Bark Park the "Roeder Ruff Park". Roeder is well known for his love of his - and all - dogs. Tears flowed at that moment.

Many members of Roeder's family were present and were introduced to the assembled throng. I'm sure there were more than a few damp ey
es as Roeder bounced from the dais to go hug each and every one.

Brad Long of Costa Mesa TV prepared a terrific Powerpoint presentation with hysterically funny Photoshopped pictures of Roeder, each of which was hilariously narrated by Buffa. This photo was among the tamest of the bunch.


Former Assistant City Manager and curr
ent City Manager in Rancho Santa Margarita, Steve Hayman, was a co-conspirator in a very amusing video clip put together by Long and Dane Bora of CMTV. In it he mentioned that Roeder had trained and mentored several current city managers in Orange County and elsewhere.

Former mayor Mary Hornbuckle presented a summary of comments and stories provided by many of her fellow council members and mayors a
bout Roeder, including some very amusing anecdotes about how he was hired and his management style.

THE highlight for me, thou
gh, was Roeder's speech. He stood there with no notes and poured his heart out, mixing poignant historical references with big dollops of his personal management philosophy. No person in that room could doubt that his more than three dozen years as an employee of the city was anything short of a labor of love. No, I didn't record the speech, nor did I take a single note. I just sat there like the rest of the crowd and enjoyed and appreciated the moment.


the end of the evening Roeder managed to make his way around the room, trying to connect with every person there. Of course, that's his style. He's a man who has made his mark on Costa Mesa by simply going about doing his job with integrity, dignity, professionalism and dedication. He leaves giant shoes to fill.


I again want to thank my friend, Doug Bennett from the OCC Foundation for inviting me to be part of their group. I had a chance to sit and visit with Dr. Dennis R. Harkins, the President of Orange Coast College during the evening. Dr. Harkins came from Atlanta a little over a year ago and is still getting the lay of the land here. I liked what he had to say about his plans for OCC and it's future as a major part of the continuing evolution of Orange County.

So, this was the end of the "Roeder Era" in the history of Costa Mesa. Today he will work his last day on the payroll - right up to the end, he told me. He will finally clean out his office over the weekend and make room for his successor, Chief Executive Officer of the City, Thomas Hatch, to take over on Monday.


Once again, I thank Allan Roeder for his tireless dedication to
Costa Mesa, for his professionalism and skill and for building an organization that has arguably been the finest municipal staff in the county. He has set the bar high, for which we are all grateful. Now he deserves to relax with his wife, Christie, and enjoy his retirement, wherever it takes him.

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Anonymous MikeK said...

I've watched you for many years perform your duties very professionally Mr. Roeder, thank you for your style, candor, and dedication to your city and it's citizens.

Job well done.

3/04/2011 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Sitting inside looking around said...

Ditto to the "Job well done." But do us all a favor. Since we in the community hold you in such high regard, please, now as long term Costa Mesa resident and dedicated retired employee, speak up at the next council meeting or in the Daily Pilot and tell the truth about these outsiders! Tell the people how these outsiders, with no regard to your work or the well being of the residents are destroying such a wonderful community. A community that you poured your heart and soul into all these years! Allan, we know that what is happening to our beloved City is causing you pain, but I believe that by you speaking, the people will listen! They will listen because the idiots tearing us apart can not dismiss what you have to say as the words a disgruntle employee or as insignificant resident! We need your dedication one more time, not from inside the building, but out here amongst us! Thank you Allan.

3/05/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Please! said...

I agree with 'sitting inside'.
You are one individual who can speak up about what is going on. Many people who don't know what to think will listen.
There is a time and place for everything and that time was not before you retired and it was not during your send-off. But it is now that you are just a private citizen who cares about this community.
You can also speak the truth about how and why the pensions that are being used as a focus to justify what is being done, got to be what they are.

3/05/2011 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Sorry About That said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Allan Roeder will not be able to impress anyone about anything in the future. His power is now gone and he's sitting back enjoying one of those big fat pensions everyone is complaining about. He has become part of the problem at this point.

3/05/2011 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Note to "Gunny"... sorry pardner.. you used a word that offended more than one reader. They, of course, were right. Should never have published it. Had no choice but to delete the entire post - I can't edit them. If you want to try again without that word I'll publish it.

Separately, NO comments using the moniker "Anonymous" will be published...

3/05/2011 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

'Sitting inside' and 'Please' while i hear what you are saying I just don't think Allan could say anything now that he hasn't before. He has tried on numerous occasions only to have it fall on deaf ears.

No I think that he deserves to enjoy his retirement and I hope he does. He should spend time with his family, his wife, and his golf swing. ;)

Maybe in time he will feel called to put his thoughts and voice out there once again in a different capacity. Right now, though, I think this time needs to be his.

3/05/2011 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Gunny said...

Well Sir, I apologize if my use of a word offended anyone. I suppose that's a punctuation on what I see as wrong with this beautiful country today. People will be offended by a word and not the actions of these people on the council.

We have some very thin skinned people in this country today.

3/05/2011 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gunny, I didn't disagree with the content of your earlier comment. That one word was over the line... post it again with "wimps" or something similar.

3/05/2011 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Gunny said...

Mr. West I apologize again for using any word that would be offensive to anyone. The typically flippant response of people like "Sorry" are so infuriating.

To "Sorry", is anyone who puts in their time and earns a retirement part of the problem in your estimatiion? Your arrogance and obvious envy of those who earn something you don't is glaring. I put my time in (23 years) in the Marine Corps. I earned a retirement (a whopping 57.5% of my base pay) doing the hard work that allows panzies like you to sit back and shoot your mouth off.

I don't care if someone in your local government is an administrator, a cop or fireman. They put their time in service of you and me. You neither appreciate it, nor ackowledge that they actually did a job. Instead, you feel sorry for yourself, and sit back and grouse about what they have that you don't. It's envy, plain and simple.

You are no different than the likes of Michael Moore from a different point of view. Others worked to earn something you didn't, you want it, but can't have it. So you, and the likes of the rest of your party (and your local council)seek to take it. You are not a conservative, you are a progressive, just like the likes of our president (who I am no fan of). You just approach your progressive agenda with different dogma than the lefties do. It's pathetic.

My 401(k) sucks too. I had to retire form the Corps and get a job in the private sector. I don't sit back and feel sorry for myself. I don't sit back and envy any of these men and women.

One of the defense contractors I had the opportunity to work for actually still has a company pension plan. They are a rarity anymore. I chose not to work there, because my skill set was better utilized with the company I am with. I have never rallied anyone to kill the company pension with that other company because I don't have it. I could sit back and look at some rich corporate executive and envy what they have and somehow feel entitled to it. He earned it, I didn't. I could have chosen a different way in life, but I chose what I did. We all have our lot in life.

I love this country, I served this country and I am proud to be an American. People like you sully that pride with your personal greed and envy.

3/06/2011 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks, Gunny... I'm glad you re-posted.

3/06/2011 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous John said...

That Gunny comes across like a real nut job.

3/06/2011 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

John, so i guess it is nuts to believe in something anymore huh? Gunny is obviously very proud of his service, as are most CM employees, specifically cops and FF's. Interesting how one simple sentence can provide such insight into a person. Thanks.

3/06/2011 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

So.......I'm still trying to figure out Gunny's logic.......

I'm for pensions and the workers so I vote republican?

That's exactly why we are in this mess.

Seriously though, thanks for your service.

3/06/2011 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Gunny said...

Gunny's logic is- think for yourself. Both major parties in this country are a mess. Both take a dogmatic approach to their agenda and no one uses common sense or thinks for themselves.

So, stop following party lines, think for yourself. No matter what party you find yourself aligned with.

3/07/2011 09:33:00 PM  

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