Officials say goodbye to longtime public works director

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Mike McDonald opens a card attached to a gift Wednesday at Leavenworth City Hall. The gift was presented during a retirement reception. McDonald retired as the city’s public works director.

Officials with the city of Leavenworth said farewell Wednesday to a longtime department director.

Wednesday marked the last day on the job for Mike McDonald, who served more than 32 years as Leavenworth’s public works director and city engineer.

He was honored during a retirement reception at Leavenworth City Hall.

“Mike thank you for your service to the city,” City Manager Paul Kramer said.

Kramer said McDonald may be the longest serving department director in the city’s history.

McDonald estimated that he has attended about 1,400 City Commission meetings during his tenure with the city.

McDonald was hired to the position of public works director in September 1988.

At the time, McDonald said he thought he would serve in the position for only two or three years, according to Bob Patzwald, retired deputy public works director.

Former City Manager Mark Pentz said McDonald was the most qualified candidate when he was offered the job.

In fact, Pentz said McDonald was the only qualified candidate at the time. McDonald said he had never heard this until Pentz mentioned it during Wednesday’s reception.

“He’s one of those people that just rose to the occasion,” Pentz said.

The former city manager said McDonald has “stick-to-itiveness.”

“His impact on the city of Leavenworth has really been tremendous,” Pentz said.

Patzwald talked about McDonald’s ability to deal with emergencies.

“We learned as a group how to deal with disasters,” Patzwald said.

Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha also complimented McDonald’s leadership ability when dealing with disasters such as floods.

Brian Faust, McDonald’s replacement as public works director, already has started in his new position. Faust previously worked as a city engineer in Topeka.

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