After 32 years, Truman bids Roseville adieu

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 6, 2012

 Outgoing Roseville City Manager Steve Truman offers a few words to a packed house at his retirement party in Erin Auditorium on Feb. 28.

Outgoing Roseville City Manager Steve Truman offers a few words to a packed house at his retirement party in Erin Auditorium on Feb. 28.

Photo by Sara Kandel


ROSEVILLE — It was a standing-room-only event when friends, family and co-workers gathered in Erin Auditorium Feb. 28 for Steve Truman’s retirement party.

Truman had been with the city for 32 years when he announced his pending retirement as city manager last November, and the crowd that filed in to wish him well offered a good representative mix of that more than 30-year span.

Assistant City Controller Jane Dancey spoke about her time with Truman, and even though she peppered her speech with jokes that made the whole room break out in laughter, most people, including her, were also fighting back the tears.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Steve for 10 years, and I know to Steve it probably seems much, much longer,” she said. “Many of you have probably had the pleasure of knowing Steve much longer than I have, but I know it doesn’t take a long time to realize he’s truly one in a million, and I’m a numbers girl, so I know my math.”

After running down a list of career highlights, Dancey presented Truman with a few parting gifts — cards and roses — “from the beautiful city if Roseville,” she said, and then a plaque.

She read the message inscribed on it aloud.

“Steve Truman, excellence is a result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.”

Truman graduated with a master’s degree in urban planning from Wayne State University in 1978, and in the same year, he took a job as a planning consultant for a local firm. He came to Roseville just one year later, starting his career in the city as the director of the housing commission, before being appointed the same role in the Building Department four years later and then city manager in 2005.

It was his dedication to excellence, his affiliations and his accomplishments while holding those job titles, though, that truly defined his role in the city.

Truman spearheaded efforts to get both SERESA and the Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe under way. He served as vice president for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and sat on dozens of other boards, commissions and organizations, including the Roseville Optimist Club and Project Art In Roseville.

His most illustrious role, though, seemed to be one that not everyone in the room knew about, but made him smile with a mix of pride and bashfulness when it was finally mentioned by Paul Vandamme, Roseville’s purchasing executive.

“Tonight, at the City Council meeting, Steve will receive many accolades, well wishes, a watch, a plaque and an American flag for his many years of service in the city of Roseville,” he said. “But when a man leaves basketball, the game that he loves and made such impact in, there is a time when his jersey as a banner has to go to the rafters.”

As Vandamme spoke, a projector screen lifted, revealing Truman’s jersey, No. 9, on a banner. Taking the stage, Truman smiled while his eyes seemed to well up a little. He explained that he had played in the city municipal league three days a week for 25 years until a knee injury in 2009 rendered him unable to do so anymore. He’s missed the sport and the camaraderie and stress relief it brought ever since.

He laughed only for a moment. Then in a sweetly serious tone, he thanked all of his employees, the council and the people he’s worked with and for over the years.

“Everything we have is because of the people of Roseville,” Truman said. “I have never lost sight for a minute that I am a public servant. I never thought that that meant I had to agree with everybody. If I did my best, I thought that was good enough, but I still understood who paid the check and how important that was. We’ll never be able to express our gratitude enough to the folks, the 48,000 now, and the ones I’ve met in the past and the ones I hope are going to move here in the future and continue to make this the great community it is. You have made the life that I have, that we have, my wife, Pam, and I. We really owe everything to you.”

Truman retires to his wife, four children and three grandchildren, with whom he said he couldn’t wait to start spending more time.

The retired life will be a big change, but it’s one that he has been eager to make for months. Still, his patience, dedication and drive will be greatly missed at City Hall.

“He’s been the best, the very best,” said Councilwoman Jan Haggerty. “He’s totally committed, and I just can’t say enough good things about him. I don’t want him to go. I really don’t.”

“We’re going to miss Steve dearly,” said Mayor John Chirkun. “He is a terrific man, and we all made a good team. We’re very sorry to see him go.”

“Steve was great for the city of Roseville — great. There’s nothing else to it, and we’re really going miss him,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bill Taylor.