Reception honors retiring City Manager Bob Olander

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bob Olander. Photo City of SL.
Community leaders gathered at City Hall on Monday, February 14, to honor City Manager Bob Olander, who is retiring from a long and respected career in city management. He started as staff support supervisor for Bellevue, then went to Selah. In 1982 he became the city manager of Anacortes. Six years running Ocean Shores, then to Des Moines Washington, first as assistant, then as City Manager for six years.

In 2002, he came to Shoreline as Assistant City Manager, and in 2006, during a time of great turmoil in the City, he was chosen as City Manager. He managed to gain the trust of all political sides and kept the trust and support of the experienced and competent city staff.

Dean David Cunningham and Mark McVeety of SCC. Mayor McGlashan
Under his watch, Shoreline continued to be recognized by influential magazines, such as Money, Seattle Magazine, and Seattle Metro. Large public works projects such as City Hall, the Interurban Trail, the Aurora Corridor, and the Parks renovations and open space acquisitions under the Park Bond were under his watch.

Des Moines staff present Bob with the City Afghan
 Tony Piasecki, City Manager of Des Moines, came to honor Bob, along with two Des Moines councilmembers and two long-time city staff. They spoke of his accomplishments in Des Moines, which sounded remarkably like his Shoreline resume with public works projects, parks, open space and beach acquisitions, annexations and improvements to downtown lighting and streets. They talked about his leadership in helping the city deal with the impacts of SeaTac Airport and the third runway and their pride in passage of a fair employment act.

Lynn Cheeney sings. Photo by Mark McVeety.
Shoreline staff kept it light, with recitations of doggerel in poem and song, including Parks Recreation Superintendent Lynn Cheeney and her husband singing "Take me home, retirement roads" to a John Denver tune.

Bob took the podium and said that he is pleased to leave Shoreline with a strong infrastructure and stable financial footing. He said he takes pride in the public works, but what he would remember and miss the most were the great people he had worked with. 

Bob with Shoreline City Councilmembers
He praised the dedication of the councilmembers and the volunteers, and thanked his wife for her support.

"It was an honor to work with the staff. They are dedicated, bright, ethical, honest, and just genuinely nice people."

The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

His last day as City Manager is February 25, when he will be succeeded by Julie Underwood, currently Assistant City Manager.

--Diane Hettrick


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