QUINCY — Pat Haley’s ambitions for Quincy are quite small, actually.
“I’d like Quincy to be one of America’s most livable cities,” said Haley, who just started his second week as Quincy’s assistant city administrator.
An engineer, native of East Wenatchee and former executive director of the Port of Douglas County, Haley is impressed by Quincy’s dynamism. It’s one reason he took the assistant job, and one reason he looks forward to becoming the actual city administrator when Tim Snead, who currently occupies the post, retires at the end of June.
“I’m just blown away by Quincy,” he said. “I had no idea all the development that has gone on here.”
“It’s very impressive to see the growth they’ve had,” he added. “The biggest challenge is to keep that growth going.”
That growth — spurred by the city’s data centers — has made a number of civic projects, such an industrial wastewater treatment and reuse system, a new police building, public safety center and finally a new city hall, possible.
The $3.6 million, high-tech city hall was just recently completed, and city employees are still unboxing documents and putting things together. Construction was delayed when the city, which had contracted with the same firm to build both the police station and the city hall, terminated the contract and had to go looking for a replacement company to do the work.
“We’re still kind of getting moved in,” said current City Administrator Tim Snead as he stands in the cavernous city council chamber. “This is something Quincy can be proud of for the next 50 years at least.”
Haley, who started his position not long after the city took possession of its new city hall, said he hopes to bring an additional level of professionalism and an ethic of public service to what is already a well-run city.
“I ran for the Douglas County Commission in 2016, and I lost by 124 votes,” he said. “It was my first foray into political office, and it connected me to a lot of my neighbors.”
“One of the benefits of running for office is you have to say what you’re about,” Haley added.
Notable on the wall of his office — he already occupies the city administrator’s office, while Snead works in the mayor’s — are framed, personal letters from every president since Richard Nixon.
“My goal is to have a letter from every president in my lifetime,” he said. “It started with (Ronald) Reagan in 1984, and then I figured (former presidents) Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were alive too, so maybe I can get letters from them.”
And now with a signed letter from President Trump, Haley’s collection is — so far — complete.
“I’ve been working on it ever since,” he said.
Haley wants public employees, and not just elected officials, to embrace and publicly confess values such as honesty, integrity and good stewardship of public resources so that people know what they can expect from those in government.
“I’m a public servant who seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people for the longest time,” Haley said.
Haley also noted that Quincy is a lot like East Wenatchee. People live there because they want to live there, he said, and that’s what makes a community home. However, the flip side of that is outsiders stay outsiders for a long time.
“If you’re the new guy, even if you’ve been there for 10 years, you’re still the newcomer,” he said.