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Sparks City Manager retires after nearly 14 years
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jan 14, 2014 | 1463 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo -- Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey announced his retirement Monday afternoon from the position he has held for nearly 14 years. Carey has worked in public service for more than 30 years and has spent more than 20 of those years in Sparks.
Tribune file photo -- Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey announced his retirement Monday afternoon from the position he has held for nearly 14 years. Carey has worked in public service for more than 30 years and has spent more than 20 of those years in Sparks.
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Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey announced his retirement Monday afternoon after nearly 14 years at the helm of the city’s operations. The long-time Sparks resident will step down April 4, allowing the Sparks City Council to discuss and appoint a new City Manager during the next couple months.

“It really was a family decision for me,” Carey said Tuesday. “I have worked in local government for 32 years, and after about 14 years as City Manager, I felt it was time to begin to look for a change.

“I am not done with what I hope to accomplish in my life. I just felt it was time for a new chapter. I felt this would be a good time to allow the city to select their next leader and keep the team moving in the direction the Mayor and Council choose.”

Carey grew up in Sparks, attending Dilworth Middle School and eventually graduating from Sparks High School in 1975. He was named to the Sparks High School Hall of Fame in 2013. He obtained his civil engineering degree from the University of Nevada, Reno and holds professional engineering licenses in three western states.

Carey began his career as a civil engineer in Arizona before moving to Colorado to become a traffic engineer. He made a final stop in Marysville, Calif,. working as a city engineer and Public Works Director before returning to Sparks. He assumed the Public Works Director position at the City of Sparks in 1992, then moved up to Assistant City Manager in 1999 and became City Manager in 2000.

“I walked into my first job in public service in 1982 with a $20 vinyl briefcase and a clip-on tie, and I got to do things I enjoyed,” Carey said of his reason for remaining in public service for more than 30 years. “I got to be part of building communities and producing things that I found very rewarding. I am classically trained as an engineer, so I like to see things be built. As I move around these organizations and gain experience, I realized that I could play a hand in growing people around me. That’s what drew me to the work of leadership.”

Carey said he enjoyed the challenges and the community interaction being City Manager gave him. He said the timing of his exit played a part in his decision to retire, saying that the city has seen the worst of the economic recession and a new leader can help guide Sparks in its new direction.

“I think we have come through the recession, the worst in my lifetime, and it is a good time to hand the reins to the next leader who can keep moving Sparks forward,” Carey said. “There are a number of things that will involve me after I am gone and I think there are still a few things we need to do concerning our goals as I transition out of the position.”

Carey played major roles in streamlining city services, bringing in Golden Eagle Regional Park and the Sparks Marina. Carey has also helped lead city staff in rebranding Sparks as a premier event destination, ranging from large downtown events to smaller community events throughout the city’s parks and open space.

“For more than 30 years, Mr. Carey has had a long and distinguished public service career, 21 years of it in the City he grew up in and loves. That is Sparks,” Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said. “I can’t find a big enough word to tell you how I feel about Shaun and the professionalism, dedication, and commitment he has shown for more than two decades. Shaun is a gentle giant who has gotten things done, and is largely why so many residents are proud to call Sparks home.”
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