Julian Prosser, the assistant city manager who led Raleigh's nationally recognized sustainability initiatives, announced today that he will retire Dec. 31 after a 32-year career in local government.
But Prosser, 66, will maintain a presence at City Hall. He plans to return in February as a part-time adviser in the city manager's office. The role will be temporary, he said, but there is no timeframe for how long he will stay.
Prosser assumed his current post in February 2004 after a previous stint as the city's administrative services director. The ascension to the manager's office was part of a leadership shuffle that also resulted in promotions for Carl Dawson, who went from city engineer to public works director; Dan Howe, who went from strategic projects manager to assistant city manager; and Perry James, the city's finance director who gained the new title of chief financial officer.
Prosser was a chief negotiator for the city's new downtown convention center and headquarters Marriott hotel. More recently, he oversaw the city's growing portfolio of green-friendly projects, including LED street lights, electric car charging stations and solar panels atop public buildings. Prosser also was a key figure in the city's land conservation programs and water supply decisions for Falls Lake and Jordan Lake. Last year, Forbes.com ranked Raleigh No. 3 in a ranking of "America's Least Toxic Cities," a feature that examined air and water quality in metro areas.
In an e-mail sharing his plans with friends and colleagues, Prosser mentioned that his grandchildren are getting older and that he would like to do some traveling with his wife, Candace.
"This is totally my decision," Prosser said. "I am fortunate to be in good health and am enjoying my work but felt it was a good time to transition to a new place in my professional and personal life."
With his beard, glasses and low-key demeanor, Prosser fit the part of a college professor, perhaps befitting his involvement in the more technical aspects of city management. The walls and bookshelves in his office were filled with vintage baseball photos and an assortment of mementos from trips to different parts of the world.
Prosser noted that his message was modeled after the retirement announcement of friend Curt Walton, who recently disclosed plans to step down as city manager of Charlotte. Prosser said he was struck by Walton's eloquence and wanted to take a similar approach in thanking colleagues and others with whom he has worked.
"You are receiving this email because you have had a very positive impact on me, either personally, professionally or both," he wrote. "I am very fortunate that some of you have been making that impact for decades, while for others our paths may have crossed only a few months ago. It just goes to show me that great people are continually put into my path and I greatly value the relationships, whatever the duration has been. "