Clyne settles into retirement | Polk County Itemizer-Observer

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INDEPENDENCE — David Clyne’s schedule has seen some adjustments in the last week or so.

The former Independence city manager attended his last city council meeting as a staff member on Dec. 11.

“I’ll miss the change in activity and stress, the need to get up everyday,” Clyne said. “That’ll be different, and I’m glad it will be different. I’ve been working in the public sector for 40 years and working in general for over 50.”

“I’m sort of ready for a break,” he added with a laugh.

Still, Clyne said he will miss the camaraderie he experienced working at the city, and the challenges.

“The ability to take something and try to make it better,” Clyne said. “See a different way of doing things. I like to be part of innovation. When you have limited resources, how do you get things done?”

He said one of the things he has enjoyed during his time as city manger is being part of conversations that are meaningful on a local and national level.

“We created a few new things, things that are very different for a city this size,” Clyne said. “Being able to do that kind of thing, to engage in conversations that are very meaningful both on a local and a national level, the whole immigration and the whole conversation that’s going on around bias and discrimination, we’re part of that conversation. It’s good to be able to lead somewhat in that conversation. That’s important. I think I’ll miss that.”

Clyne said Independence has a 35 to 40 percent Latino population.

“Council is determined that we find ways to serve the entire community and bring the full community into the conversation,” Clyne said. “It was important to the community and council to fully engage our community, all of our community, with a high sense of priority to the Latino community.”

He credits former city councilor Nancy Lodge with “leading the charge” on adding this issue as a goal to the city’s strategic plan.

“My job as staff is to take that plan and try to turn it into reality,” Clyne said.

They hired an intern to develop a program and created a position of Latino outreach coordinator, which is now the community engagement manager.

Former Independence City Manager Greg Ellis, who is now the city manager for Dallas, “did a wonderful job of creating the infrastructure of this community. The base of downtown,” Clyne said.

Clyne said he was just advancing Ellis’ “good works.”

“I can’t say this often enough, the vision starts with the mayor and the council,” Clyne said. “They’ve had this vision for 20 years, so to bring this vision so much further along, I’m very proud of my role having done that. I’m surrounded by great people, a great team and I’ve worked for a great team — the council and the mayor.”

At the Dec. 11 council meeting, Mayor John McArdle thanked Clyne for the work he’s done.

“Your passion for Independence, your energy, your intellect, your creativity, your gettin’ after it, was really appreciated,” McArdle said. “Our community, our city, is a much better place because of the time that you have spent with us.”

He said it has been a professional and personal pleasure to work with Clyne.

“The laundry list of physical additions to our community are many,” McArdle said. “I think that one of the other things that many do not see is that you’ve created a strong, stable, competent, capable and creative staff that will do wonderful things in the years to come.”

During his eight years as city manager, he had a great staff, Clyne said.

“I’m proud that we were able to create staffing roles that were nontraditional staffing roles for a city of 10,000,” Clyne said. “Having an economic development director in a community this size, very few and far between. Having a paid downtown coordinator this year, having the community engagement manager, that’s new.”

As for physical projects, Clyne is proud of the work on Independence Landing.

“A community this size, (with a) small staff, rely heavily on consultants or whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s a city with a council that hasn’t been down this road before,” Clyne said. “It was a big investment for this city, but at the end of the day, I think everybody is very happy with the outcome.

“The council was very happy with the outcome, and I think the vast majority of the community is as well.”

Clyne said he will miss networking with people from other cities and those at the state level.

“I get to schmooze with all sorts of folks,” Clyne said. “I’ve been in the governor’s office more than once.”

“The governor’s not going to be calling me now,” he laughed. “Actually, she didn’t call me before, but you know what I mean, we engage. Recognizing that my importance in the universe may be diminishing.”

He’s planning to do more hiking and traveling, including a five-week language immersion tip to Costa Rica next spring.

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