Don Wagner’s Eulogy for Frank

After my interview for the job at the City of Rosemead, Frank invited me to lunch at,
naturally, Charlie Browns in Rosemead. In those days it was almost a City Hall Annex.
So during lunch he did most of the talking, At that point I figured I stood a good chance
of him hiring me. Midway through the conversation he asked me for a three by five
card. Of course I didn’t have one, but that was the last time I was without a three by five
card with a pen!

Just to give a sample of his management style, he suggested that I rearrange the desk
in my office inorder to let staff know there was a new guy on board. Also he wanted me
to know where all the councilmembers and commissioners lived. Maybe the map is still
on the backdoor of the closet in that office, but Frank always kept on top of
communicating with members of the City Council.

Frank was very supportive of staff, not only at work but in their private lives. Karen has
referenced the fishing trips, which were truly morale builders and very enjoyable. He
also made sure I gave my two oldest sons a tackle box and fishing pole…he was also
along for their first time at a lake.

I have lost count of the number of City Managers Frank has trained and mentored. The
benefit of working for Frank was that he was always just a phone call away when
advice was needed. It’s important to remember that he was both a friend and a mentor
to all of us. He also had a wide network of friends on City councils, State Assembly,
State Senate as well as elected officials at the federal level. I think silicone valley had
to upgrade their cell phone software so that they could accommodate Frank’s constant
need to increase the number of contacts on his phone.

While City Manager of Rosemead he provided staff with the opportunity to develop and
recommend new programs that would benefit the residents. I do not believe he was a
micro-manager at all. Senior housing, community centers and Public safety come to
mind. Rosemead still has the best streets in San Gabriel Valley.

After he retired from City Government, nothing changed. He always knew what was
happening in local and state politics and government. Frank’s network of people in all
levels of government and for that matter the private sector expanded even more.
He was a good friend and mentor who always encouraged me to try harder, learn more
and to keep up with current events. On a personal note, he got me smoking better
cigars, got me into actively pursuing my passion for motorsports and greatly improved
my fishing skills. I will miss him greatly.

Let me leave you with this….he always said, in reference to working in local
government, “Don’t do anything you can’t explain at a public meeting.”