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Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
  • ‘With me, what you see is what you get’

  • In spite of Thomas Wolfe’s insistence that “you can’t go home again” and a Twilight Zone episode (i.e., Walking Distance) that illustrated the calamity you’d encounter if you did, Marceline’s new City Manager believes he’s done the impossible...or at least the improbable.
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  • In spite of Thomas Wolfe’s insistence that “you can’t go home again” and a Twilight Zone episode (i.e., Walking Distance) that illustrated the calamity you’d encounter if you did, Marceline’s new City Manager believes he’s done the impossible...or at least the improbable.
    “I was born off the beaten track in a railroad town,” begins Richard Hoon, the new Marceline City Manager with a quick wit and gift for making a pun without feeling the need to ask for forgiveness. “There was a population of about 5,000 in Mobridge, South Dakota when I was growing up there, but that number has dwindled along with the familiarity folks there used to enjoy. And even though I can’t go back there expecting things to be the same, Marceline reminds me of Mobridge when I was a boy.”
    That’s just one of the reasons Hoon fully intends to raise his children in Marceline and retire there some day. “I’m not on my way somewhere else,” assures Hoon. “I have arrived.”
    The incoming City Manager continues, “My wife, Jennie, couldn’t believe that a community as close-knit as Mobridge was, and Marceline is, could actually exist. And she insisted on schools with high educational standards. Marceline has both, so our dream of someday returning to the Midwest has been realized.”
    Wanderlust is an emotion fed by inexperience and dissatisfaction, and after a 20-year career in the Navy that ultimately resulted in being stationed at the Pentagon, Hoon suffers from neither. During our initial conversation, Richard joked about visiting 35 countries without the need for a passport until he traveled on a cruise ship as a civilian.
    After completing his military service, Hoon earned a bachelors degree in Organization Management with honors and a masters degree in Public Administration.
    His retirement from the Navy was followed by employment with the City of Eustis, Florida where he rose from the entry-level position of Administrative Assistant to Assistant to the City Manager.
    “In my 10 years working for the City of Eustis,” recalls Richard, “I witnessed Eustis rebound from what had been a steady decline in population and a general distrust in local government to a well-connected community with a thriving downtown business district.” He remembers “politely answering citizen questions” from the Eustis faithful and distinguishing the difference between listening and just hearing. “When you listen,” explains Hoon, “there’s a response...I want to communicate what we’re doing before we do it rather than make people guess. People need communication. When they feel they understand what we’re doing it isn’t us and them, it’s just us.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The new Marceline City Manager demonstrates his preference for transparency when he asserts, “The City needs to expose both its successes and failures. And even when things don’t go just the way we want them to, we’ll benefit from the positive results that do result and learn from the experience.”
    But Hoon has no intention of simply taking things as they come. “We intend to implement a strategic planning process,” telegraphs the City Manager. “Without a plan, goals are just wishes. A large part of that plan will involve performance-based budgeting.”

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