Parting gift is a fitting gesture

Published 5:35 pm Monday, May 20, 2013

The presentation of a copy of the painting “The General” to outgoing City Manager Josh Kay by the City of Washington on Monday is a fitting gesture by the mayor and City Council of the appreciation they have for the outstanding work Kay did during his short term as city manager.

The painting depicts Gen. George Washington in a pensive mood.

Moments after adopting the 2013-2014 budget for the city, Mayor Archie Jennings asked the council to join him in making the presentation to Kay. In recent days, the council and mayor have praised Kay and city staff for leading a budget-writing process deemed as one of the fastest, most-efficient ones in city history.

“We couldn’t let it go unsaid just how much you have meant to this organization. … We will miss you greatly. I will miss you, personally. I enjoyed working with you,” Jennings said during the presentation.

Kay interjected some humor into the presentation — as council members struggled a bit to unwrap the painting — when he said, “It’s hard for y’all to operate without a manager. Let me help.”

It was evident Kay was touched by the gratitude and appreciation offered by the mayor and council.

“It truly has been an honor to serve as your city manager. You’ve got a great group of folks (city staff) out here and a great community. There’s not another city I would want to be a manager of, and that’s said with all sincerity,” Kay said.

There’s no doubt Kay, who’s taking a job in the private sector next month, is leaving the city in better fiscal health. He will be remembered for that. He also will be remembered for initiating a reorganization of city government, an ongoing effort that should make city government more efficient.

Two years ago, the council and mayor showed wisdom in hiring Kay as city manager. On Monday, the council and mayor showed class in showing their appreciation for someone who served the city and its residents extremely well.