How Do You Relax From Your Management Responsibilities?

Jul 27, 2017 | ARTICLE

Carol Houck, ICMA-CM
City Manager
Delaware City, Delaware

Before my recent position change, I was city manager of Newark, Delaware, which is a college town, so I took time off during the summer months of July and August. This was tempered by calendar-year budget work.

In recent years, as our family has matured, we're no longer locked in to the school-year vacation schedule. This has afforded the opportunity to align vacation time with conferences I've attended.

Days added to the front or end of the 2015 ICMA conference in Seattle or the 2016 APPA conference in Phoenix have been wonderful. This year we'll travel to New Orleans following the ICMA conference in San Antonio, adding value to the already great opportunity of networking and professional development.

As for making time to relax, I've put into action more appropriate goals as I transitioned from Newark to the manager's position in quaint, waterfront Delaware City, Delaware, this past May.

Brown-bagging it and walking or biking to favorite spots in the community over lunch or between the day's work and evening meetings are my new norm!


Jon Ruiz, ICMA-CM
City Manager
Eugene, Oregon

I find myself relaxing best with my wife or a few friends on our back deck enjoying good food, a glass of wine, and interesting conversation. Eugene is known for its slow, local, and organic food culture, and we find joy in cooking for ourselves and guests.

We have purposefully created an oasis apart from the pace and purpose of the day. It is neither fancy nor complicated, but provides sanctuary from the demands of our roles and responsibilities.

In our created space, we reflect on the issues of the day, big and small. We grow closer and encourage each other. We find solace in the kindness and grace of creation and enjoy inviting others to share it with us.


Charlotte Colley
Village Administrator
New Concord, Ohio

Ideally, my family and I would take a trip in May and then again in August or September; however, it is now my son's last summer to be a little guy, as he is starting kindergarten in the fall. So our family is trying to take a lot of "mini" vacations to places he and his younger brother want to visit. These minis worked well with my work schedule this summer because we have some large projects happening in New Concord, and I need to be available to deal with things.

Throughout the year, I try to take a day off here and there to just relax or to clean my house so I don't go crazy due to clutter. With two young boys it is hard to take much "me time," although I've been able to find things that we enjoy doing as a family.

New Concord has a beautiful upper reservoir with a playground and a long hiking trail. This is always a nice adventure for us. My husband and I have tried to make time for the two of us by taking long walks, going out to dinner, or sitting on the porch talking after the boys have gone to sleep.


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