Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax recently had the opportunity to meet the second man to ever hold this job.
Dave Rowlands was city manager from 1956 to 1969. He attends the same church as Bill Baarsma, who served on Tacoma City Council for eight years in the 1990s and then served as mayor from 2002-09. Baarsma arranged the meeting, which took place at Tacoma Municipal Building.
When Rowlands was city manager, Baarsma was attending college and worked for Rowlands as an intern during that time.
Rowlands is 97. Baarsma said Rowlands’ eyesight is poor and he has some other health issues, but he described him as “sharp as a tack.”
Baarsma said Rowlands served as president of the International City/County Management Association.
Rowlands, Broadnax and Baarsma discussed the city budget and the interaction between the Tacoma Public Utilities and the city’s general government.
Broadnax began working as city manager earlier this year. He moved here from San Antonio, where he served as an assistant city manager. He grew up in Kansas and worked in local government jobs in Florida prior to moving to San Antonio.
“I thought it was very interesting,” Broadnax said of the meeting. “He has quite a bit of perspective.” He said although there have been changes in how local governments operate from the time Rowlands was working to the modern era, the discussion they had made him realize many things are still the same.