By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Fairborn City Manager Deborah McDonnell has taken a job as city administrator in Poughkeepsie, New York, after serving the community for the last nine years.
For her, it’s all about transforming communities.
“It’s a great challenge,” she said. “The city needs transformed like Fairborn did.”
Poughkeepsie faces alike demographics to Fairborn, McDonnell said. It includes a university and similar challenges related to poverty and planning. Instead of an Air Force base, Poughkeepsie includes the Hudson River.
It is also currently $11 million in the hole, according to McDonnell.
“It feels good to help climb [a city] out of a hole,” she said.
As McDonnell reflects on her time with the community, she is most proud of the ways the city staff came together and united under a shared vision for the future of Fairborn. She said an incredible staff equals an incredible community. She is also pleased with the city’s creation of the economic development department, which had to be passed by council in order to do so.
She ultimately feels that this chapter in her life has come to an end because “the people here are amazing and they don’t need my leadership anymore,” she said, adding that it is time for another individual to offer their leadership.
And Poughkeepsie will perhaps be her last chapter, as she sees herself retiring within the next six to seven years.
She will miss the people within the community, as well as seeing the innovation taking place within Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. She is unsure about her last day as the Fairborn city manager, but said she will be with the community until at least the end of the month.
“I feel confident about where we are going,” she said, adding that during her service to the city, they tackled items that had sat on a shelf for 30 years. “We did great stuff in the last nine years.”
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.