By Karl Keith
Montgomery County bid County Administrator Debbie Feldman farewell last week as she left for her new position as CEO of Children’s Medical Center in Dayton.
Debbie and I have been friends and colleagues for more than 30 years. When I started working for the Montgomery County Treasurer in the early 1980’s, Debbie and former county budget director Tom Black were probably the first people I came to know outside the treasurer’s office. It has been my pleasure to watch her advance through the ranks of county government over the past three decades.
At a reception in her honor last week, it was clear to everyone in attendance that Feldman’s contributions as a leader in the community during her career with the county were deeply felt and far-reaching. No doubt about it, Children’s Medical Center has selected an outstanding administrator, one who possesses superior management, financial and leadership skills.
Several years ago, an ABC News poll asked the following question: “If you had the chance to be President of the United Statesfor one day or spend a week in jail, which option would you prefer?” The overwhelming majority responded that they would rather spend a week in jail than be President for a single day.
Spending 30 years in public service is not something most people would desire. Public servants are frequently criticized and ridiculed and not always held in very high regard. But, Debbie Feldman made public service look good.
Throughout her career, Debbie played a major role in taking the spider web of county government and weaving it into a well-managed, high performing organization. That is not an easy thing to do within an organization where no one person is really in charge and where there are so many competing priorities.
I was walking through the lower level of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus a couple of months ago and saw a display with this quote from George Washington Williams, the first African-American to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives:
“Let Ohio speak for human rights, for universal suffrage, for fair and honest elections, for economy and purity in public affairs, for honest money and stable government.”
Debbie Feldman embodies those principles as much as anyone I have ever known. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her for so many years, and I am proud to call her my friend.
I wish her nothing but success in her new career and in all her future endeavors.