With presentations, stories and laughter, City of Mountlake Terrace staff, council members and friends recognized City Manager John Caulfield Thursday night at his last meeting as the city’s top administrator. Caulfield is leaving the post to take the City Manager position for the City of Lakewood in Pierce County beginning next week.
“I want to thank everyone for the wonderful recognition and the kind words; thank you all so much,” Caulfield said at the end of the meeting. “Words alone just can’t describe my thanks for the opportunity to serve this community, to serve as your City Manager.”
Caulfield spoke of the relationships and memories that he would “cherish” from his tenure as City Manager, a position he had held since January 2006. “I have nothing but fond memories about Mountlake Terrace,” he said. He thanked his department heads at City Hall, mentioning them all by name. “It’s been an absolute pleasure; I will miss you. It’s been a thrill, it’s been a wonderful ride,” he concluded.
Among the presentations given to Caulfield were a plaque from the City of Mountlake Terrace commemorating his years of service, and an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Aug. 15.
Assistant City Manager Scott Hugill will be taking over as Mountlake Terrace Interim City Manager beginning next week. Hugill read an excerpt Thursday night from an oath taken by young soldiers in the ancient city-state of Athens that would become a building block for the modern-day International City Management Code of Ethics, a document that has hung on Caulfield’s office wall. “He follows it diligently,” Hugill stated.
City Planning Commission Chairperson Alice Kier read a letter presented to Caulfield from the board commending the City Manager for his “exemplary leadership.”
Each of the current city councilmembers (and one former councilmember, John Zambrano) thanked Caulfield for his work in the city, some holding back tears. “I’ve got to say, you’re probably one of the best leaders that I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” said Mayor Jerry Smith. “I appreciate everything you do. I’m going to miss you, man.”
“Still, if you want to cancel, the city will step up and fight the lawsuit if you don’t want to leave,” Smith joked to Caulfield about his impeding move from the Mountlake Terrace top job to the City of Lakewood.
Caulfield expressed that he had no concerns about leaving the city in the hands of its current leadership. “You folks are going to do just fine,” he said, adding that while he is making a change of employment, he will still be rooted locally. “As I was telling the mayor, I am going to continue to be a property owner in Mountlake Terrace,” he noted.
“While I am leaving you as a City Manager, I will still be a part of this community,” Caulfield said. “I think Mountlake Terrace is just one of the finest communities I have ever been associated with. I’m just fortunate that I was able to be a part of it for the time that I have been working here with the city.”