After over 16 years in service to the community, longtime City Planner William Davis is retiring.
Davis began his service to Downey in January of 2001. Up until then, he says he had no prior experience with Downey.
“I had been in city government since 1981. I served in the city of Cerritos and in the city of Cudahy,” said Davis. “My planning experience in both of those [cities] were what attracted me to be able to get hired for a position here as business development manager. That’s still in the same department; I’m in the community development department. But I was in the economic development division of the community development department.”
Eventually, Davis transferred over to planning, where he says his background truly lies.
As his final day within the city’s government approaches, Davis says he’s been thinking about the change and development he’s seen in Downey over his tenure.
“Obviously, the two areas of the city that come to mind for me would be the Downtown area and of course in what is now the Downey Promenade area – the former NASA site,” said Davis. “In both instances there have been a variety of ideas that have been explored.”
“When I first started here for example, in Downtown the city had a plan in place to make it a destination for dining and entertainment and places for people to go. You know, enjoyment; entertainment type things. That didn’t take off initially.
“Once the council negotiated for Porto’s to come downtown it was almost like – using the term ‘the goose that laid the golden egg’ – it was the sort of thing that directed a spurt of growth in Downtown and now it’s a destination and going in the direction that the city has been trying to do for the last 20 years or so.”
Throughout his time, Davis says that he’s always seen himself as a public servant.
“In our capacity in planning, you know we’re involved with as much of the physical development of the city…,” said Davis. “Because I’m supposed to administer the city’s development standards that are found in our zoning code regulations which are a result of the communities goals that are approved by the planning commission and the City Council, I’m a conduit for change from that standpoint. My goal was to number one try to serve in that capacity as well as I could, and also to do my part to make Downey a better place when I first started. “
“I think the part of it that I am most proud of is that I have learned to try to be sensitive to what the community’s needs are – and those needs change over the years – being able to adapt to those changes…”
Davis says it’s now time to step down to allow someone else to step up, as well as a take an opportunity to devote more time with his family and explore other opportunities.
“I just would like to thank the entire Downey community – the residents, business people, developers, elected officials, planning commissioners, fellow Downey staff members – and thank them all for allowing me to be a part of the growth and development of the city over the last 16 plus years. It’s been my honor to serve the people of Downey and I really truly enjoyed being a part of everything.”
Davis was honored at last week’s Planning Commission meeting, as well as at last night’s City Council meeting. His official last day is Friday.
“I had the great pleasure of working with City Planner William Davis for several years in the Community Development Department," said City Manager Gilbert Livas. "His strong technical skills and extensive background in City Planning, while impressive and very helpful to the community, were far surpassed by his interpersonal skills. Whether it was patiently walking an applicant through the plan check process, calmly answering questions from an angry customer, mentoring new planning staff members, or providing support and perspective for coworkers in stressful times, William has long been a cornerstone of our City family.
"He will be sorely missed but we wish Mr. Davis and his family all the best in his retirement.”