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National Association of Counties • Washington, D.C.      Vol. 34, No. 19 • October 14, 2002

The H.R. Doctor Is In

This Bud’s For You

Every one of us has at least one hero in our lives – someone we particularly respect and hope in some way to emulate. A role model is someone whose behavior, whose skills in a technical field or in interpersonal relations, whose success makes us smile and makes us wish that we could behave in a similar manner. For many people, our heroes may be our parents, who most often have sacrificed tremendously for our well being.

Our “idols” may be in the sports or entertainment businesses, or they may be in a technical field of particular interest to us, whether in science, art or politics. Not having a hero puts us — and especially the younger versions of “us,” namely students and young people just starting their careers — at a distinct disadvantage. The disadvantage is that we may not have someone whose examples can inspire and whose vision we can share.

The HR Doctor has had several heroes, mentors and role models. In turn, my hope is that in some small way I have passed the torch and have been a source of help, support, mentoring and, perhaps, served as a positive role model for others.

In this article however, I want to share a personal role model who retired from service to the people of California and the United States earlier this year after a lifetime of public service excellence. The great Richard “Bud” Carpenter has served America since 1939 — Yes! 1939. First, he served in the San Francisco City Attorney’s office and later that year as assistant legal counsel for the League of California Cities. He became executive director of the league as well as general counsel and director of legislative affairs.

His career included an appointment to the Fair Political Practices Commission, service to the Eisenhower Commission Advisory on Federalism and as a member of California’s Constitutional Revision Commission. For the past 10 years, Bud has been a member of the California State Personnel Board and was president of that board.

Taking a moment of personal privilege, I would like to share with readers of the HR Doctor articles some extracts of the letter I sent to Bud on the occasion of his retirement.

“Long ago in the early 1970s, as a little ‘kid administrator’ just starting his career in the City of Santa Barbara, I met you and saw qualities which made me want to remain in Public Administration work at the local government level, and focus on what I might be able to contribute to the improvement of government human resources. You have remained a person whom I very much respect and admire. You and Jane are a human ‘team of two’ whom I also admire and, along with the beautiful Charlotte, my wife of 32 years, have tried to emulate.

“I recall with special fondness the dinners I got to have with you and Jane periodically during League of California Cities Conferences. They were pleasant in and of themselves, but they represented what I even then knew to be great opportunities to spend time with you and absorb philosophies and approaches to public service.

“When any of us retire, perhaps the most important footprint we can leave behind is to know that we have inspired others or helped develop the next generation in our society. I want you to know that you have had that effect on me and I have tried very hard to maintain that tradition during the thirty years I have now spent in the business.”

This article is not only a tribute to Bud, but it’s a tribute to what he and his career stood for — excellence in public service, commitment to the careers of others and caring for a country and the value of its local governments. A toast to Bud and Jane Carpenter in the next phase of their lives. I raise my cup of Earl Gray tea and say to everyone reading this article that this Bud has really been for all of us, certainly, for me.

All the best,
Phil Rosenberg
The HR Doctor •