No one on this planet will ever replace Jim Crosby

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Yukon City council members have a rarity on their hands as they begin a search for a replacement for City Manager Jim Crosby who earlier this week announced his retirement. This rare event (replacing a Yukon City manager) is an occurrence that will truly challenge this council and will test each one of them to make a tough decision in choosing someone new to sit in that office down at the end of the hall that has been occupied by a nationally known, veteran city manager who was recently acknowledged by the International City Managers Association for his 55th year of service in the profession.

I remember just a few years ago, before I relocated the 120-year-old Okarche Chieftain to Yukon and renamed it the Yukon Progress, I was sitting in my Piedmont Gazette office and Jim Crosby was serving as City manager of Piedmont. He came into the newspaper office, walked right in and sat down at my desk (like he has done since the Bill Clinton administration) and told me he had something to tell me. Crosby told me Yukon’s acting City Manager Tammy Kretchmar had just called him for a second opinion and he was going to meet with her and see how he could help. I always liked how Jim took the time to share all his municipal knowledge with Tammy and have watched her develop into not only one of Oklahoma’s top female City manager prospects but Oklahoma’s top City manager prospects! Tammy will be celebrating her 25th year at city hall in 2021. Tammy Kretchmar is not getting older; she is getting better! Plus, she has laughed at my stupid jokes for almost three decades.

Another strong candidate I am sure our council will evaluate is City of Yukon Development Services Director Mitch Hort. Mitch has also been around forever and very quietly is doing one hell of a good job. He is very quiet, goes right by the book and in my opinion, could step into the City Manager role at any time if he was called upon. Crosby has told me to, “Go check with Mitch Hort” so many times throughout the years because he knew that it was just Mitch’s culture to get things done.

I guess we will just say our City Council has the right “HORT-iculture” to consider for the job opening.

Keeping things in Canadian County, the last guy to replace Jim Crosby in Piedmont is only ten miles to the north and is still in Piedmont. Piedmont City manager Jason Orr is available and would surely love to again follow Jim Crosby and the legacy he is leaving us. Jason is smart, he has a Municipal Management degree from the University of Oklahoma, he has experience, he knows how to work with the Canadian County Commissioners, and he knows how to work with city government employees. He is respectful of his council members and he has a specialized knowledge of developing retail businesses for the future sales tax that will be needed in the coming years.

In Piedmont, Orr brought in a retail development specialist who made more than 250 sales calls on select businesses to bring them into Piedmont city limits. He helped land Casey’s retail store and helped keep the Dollar General from moving out of town and onto the Northwest Highway. He has experience working with tribes from his days as City manager at Newkirk and he is currently working with the Piedmont council to craft a bond issue to replace Piedmont’s deteriorating roads. Jason Orr would be quite the win for Selby ORR Wootton ORR Yanda ORR Cacini ORR Gilliland.

I fully expect our city council to make a great hire to replace Jim Crosby. However, no one on this planet will ever really replace Jim Crosby. Let me repeat myself. No one on this planet will ever replace Jim Crosby and what he has done for the City of Yukon. Most candidates will be fully aware of who they will be following come January 23, 2021. I know our council will make a good choice and it will be so interesting to see who gets the job. Jim Crosby was exactly my age 54 (the age I am today) when he got here in 1994. I am just glad that as we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Christmas Lights in the Park, (he created) we can also celebrate Jim’s accomplishments and vision he has had for this great community.

The Yukon Progress is going to publish a special newspaper section about Jim’s history here in Yukon. I will have it ready in January. If you would like to write your thoughts, memories, battles or whatever about your relationship with him throughout his time here, just email your items to me. Say whatever you want to say. Lots of older photos are welcomed too. We will print it at the Lawton Constitution so we can make it as big and colorful as we need to make it.

And while this section will contain a lot of thoughts and well wishes from special people, there will be someone very special on the back page of this section!

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?

Yukon Progress Publisher Randy K. Anderson can be reached at (405) 517-5168 or
Randyk.anderson@sbcglobal.net