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Raleigh Assistant City Manager Prosser To Retire After 32 Years

Photo: City of Raleigh.

By Raleigh Public Affairs, Reprinted By The Raleigh Telegram

RALEIGH – Well known Assistant City Manager Julian Prosser is retiring at the end of this month after a career in public service that spans more than 40 years, including 32 years with the City of Raleigh.

“I’ve been really lucky to have a lot of mentors, advisors, friends, co-workers, and partners over the years,” Mr. Prosser said in a statement issued through the city. “They’ve all had a tremendous impact on me and my career.”

City Manager Russell Allen praised Mr. Prosser for his upbeat style and tireless service to the City of Oaks.

“Have you ever met anyone with a more natural exuberation or a more fertile mind?,” the City Manager said at Mr. Prosser’s retirement reception. “It is so refreshing and stimulating. We all just try to keep up.”

“Julian’s hand prints are on so many good things in our city, from affordable housing to major economic development projects,” Allen added, “But the biggest imprint is not just on projects and programs that serve our citizens but rather most notable is his impact on us as a respected colleague, a mentor, an adviser and most importantly as a friend who always wants the best for each of us.”

According to the city, after his retirement, Mr. Prosser will work part time for the City of Raleigh in the Office of Sustainability, which he helps oversee.

“This isn’t a farewell; I will be around but not as much,” he said at the reception.

Mr. Prosser has served in various positions with the City of Raleigh and other governments over the past four-plus decades.

While working on a bachelor’s degree in political science at Davidson College near Charlotte, Mr. Prosser launched his public service career working as an intern for the Queen City’s traffic engineering office and for a regional planning agency in Georgia.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1968, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina where he obtained a master’s degree in public administration in 1972. As part of his studies in Chapel Hill, Mr. Prosser worked for the City of Asheville in the City Manager’s Office and the Planning Department.

His career was interrupted for three months in 1971 when he served active duty in the U.S. Army undergoing training at Fort Benning, Ga., during the Vietnam War. Although proud to be a veteran, Prosser said he was fortunate that he was never sent overseas for combat duty.

After his short stint in the military, Mr. Prosser returned to Asheville to work for the French Broad Law Enforcement Planning Agency. In December 1971, he was named town manager for the Town of Wake Forest, a position he held for eight years.

He helped negotiate a deal that allowed Wake Forest to get water from the City of Raleigh and tackled other issues for the town, such as annexing property, implementing new zoning and subdivision ordinances, building a wastewater treatment plant and changing the distribution voltage for the town’s electric utility.

“Being town manager in Wake Forest was a great building block experience for a young guy,” Mr. Prosser said.

In 1980, he began his career with the City of Raleigh working in the Public Utilities Department. He was hired by Dempsey E. Benton, then an assistant city manager who would later serve as Raleigh’s city manager from 1983 to 2000. While in the Public Utilities Department, Mr. Prosser was involved with land application of biosolids, water conservation and grant work.

Four years later in 1984, Mr. Prosser was named director of the City’s Community Development Department. He led Raleigh’s affordable housing and neighborhood redevelopment efforts and helped secure the passage of the city’s first affordable housing bond issue.

“I am really proud of the affordable housing projects the city has implemented,” he said. “We helped a lot of people that otherwise could not afford housing.”

As part of a reorganization of Raleigh City government, Prosser was named director of the Administrative Services Department in 1995. He oversaw the Budget Office, Fleet Management, the Real Estate Office and the Disadvantaged Minority- and Women-Owned Business Program.

In 2004, Mr. Prosser was named assistant city manager by Russell Allen, the current city manager. In this role he has overseen special projects, including several revitalization efforts in Downtown Raleigh and many of the city’s sustainability initiatives. 

Prosser said he has long advocated the use of alternative fuels in City vehicles to save costs and protect the environment.  He helped establish the City’s Office of Sustainability and in 2011, less than three years after the Office of Sustainability was started, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Raleigh the “Most Sustainable Mid-sized City in the United States.”

Prosser was named 2012 Green Public Official of the Year by the Triangle chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for his efforts including establishment of the Environmental Advisory Board; participation in Project Get Ready, an electric vehicle initiative of the Rocky Mountain Institute based in Colorado; Free Green Jobs Workforce training program; the smart grid initiative; and the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative.

“It says a lot about the City of Raleigh when it embraces new technologies, such as electric vehicles and photovoltaic energy,” said Prosser in a statement.

When not working for the City in a part-time role, Mr. Prosser plans to travel and spend time with his three grandchildren.   He also plans to go back to school to learn more about environmental initiatives.

“I am going to try to keep learning things,” he said, smiling.  ::

Article Posted: Friday, December 28th, 2012.