« on: October 01, 2009, 03:34:09 PM »
Mike was our biggest supporter over the years that I worked with him. His shoes will be hard to replace.
Dear Friends, Peers and Co-Workers,
We wish to share with you our announcement that we will retire from Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation effective December 1, 2009. This decision to retire was not easily reached considering our combined investment of over 62 years in public service to Kansas City. During that time we have had the privilege to serve with four Directors including Frank Vaydik, Jerry Darter, Terry Dopson and, most recently, Mark McHenry. Also, we have had the opportunity to work with twenty-three Parks and Recreation Commissioners on thirteen different Boards, eight Board Presidents and five Mayors (too numerous to recollect are the number of City Council Representatives and City Managers we have supported). Michael was honored to have been appointed as Secretary to the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners from 1988 to 1996. Each of us has enjoyed good opportunities for job growth, satisfaction and security.
For nearly 32 years, we have been part of many changes as KCMO Parks and Recreation has evolved in an ever changing social, political and economic environment. We have experienced at least six re-organizations and seen the number of staff decline from 642 full time employees to 273, a 135% loss. In that same period, responsibilities, expectations and needs have risen dramatically. For example, consider the following increases since 1978: parks from 160 to 219 (+37%), miles of boulevards, parkways and park roads from 126 to 176 (+40%), total acres from 9,366 to 11,885 (+27%), ornamental fountains from 19 to 48 (+153%), monuments and sculptures from 41 to 105 (+156%), soccer fields from 0 to 25, and miles of trails from 0 to 45. In response, we managed to excel despite difficult circumstances. This was possible only with the support, hard work and sacrifice of many loyal and dedicated fellow city employees and community leaders. These are the persons with whom we shared first-hand the challenges, successes, failures, discoveries, disappointments, joys, sorrows, births, marriages, divorces, retirements, illnesses and deaths that are integral to work and life. Many became our mentors and treasured friends. It is an honor to have worked with such exceptional people for an outstanding community service organization and contribute to its success. Our professional careers with KCMO Parks and Recreation have been fulfilling and complete. We are thankful.
We are blessed to be able to retire together with good health and security. Retirement at this time in our lives offers us the liberty to explore new and exciting challenges while we are still able to enjoy them. Plans include time for family, friends, home, travel, projects, hobbies and many other opportunities for self-discovery. We look forward to a life open to new horizons, many of which remain yet undefined. We have not enjoyed this much freedom since we were children! We are excited.
In closing, our decision to retire has been made with great thought and consideration. It is a bittersweet time for us. Over the years Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation has become "family" and will always be part of who we are. Leaving a place that has been the center of our lives for so long is difficult, at best. But, our work is complete and it is the right time for our departure. We salute KCMO Parks and Recreation. We celebrate a brave new world.
Remember, we are not leaving KC as we intend to stay in the city we love. Our paths will still cross, just in different ways.
Michael and Ellen Herron
â€œLeisure is the most challenging responsibility a man can be offeredâ€ â€“ Dr. William Russell
Michael R. Herron, CPRP
Manager, Natural Resources Management Division
Kansas City, Missouri
Parks and Recreation
Senior Admin. Assistant: Lorri Calandra
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