COSTA MESA — In what is sure to be a week of well-wishes and goodbyes, Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder got a taste Tuesday of what is to come at his farewell banquet later this week.
For an hour leading up to Tuesday night's City Council meeting — Roeder's last — the community mingled with the outgoing city leader and outgoing City Atty. Kim Barlow in the city hall lobby. Roeder is retiring Friday after more than 42 years of service with Costa Mesa, Barlow after six years of representing the city.
"The way he works is very quiet. He's gracious," said Eleanor Egan, a former city employee for eight years. "If he ever made some momentous decision, you wouldn't hear about it being his. It would just happen."
Similarly, Roeder was almost difficult to notice at his own celebration among the 50 or so guests. He bounced from conversation to conversation, never commanding the attention of the crowd or the media there covering it.
"Allan put his heart into everything," said Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, a former city mayor, who flew in from Sacramento for the occasion. "I learned a lot from him. He's truly going to be irreplaceable."
Even at the City Council meeting after, community members continued to sing Roeder's praises.
"You taught me everything I know about being a good public servant," said Cindy Brenneman, a city resident and volunteer. "You taught me about being true to what's in the best interest of everybody."
In a surprise move, Mayor Gary Monahan revealed an official designation that in Costa Mesa, March 1 will be known as Allan Roeder Day.
Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch will take over for Roeder next week. Thomas Duarte was also sworn in as the city attorney at the council meeting Tuesday.
The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce is hosting a banquet in Roeder's honor Thursday at the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel.