Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel announced on Tuesday that he will retire on Sept. 5, 2021.
Riffel came to Woodward from Anadarko in August 2003 and according to the city is the longest serving city manager in Woodward's history. In Anadarko, he was city manager for seven years. Before that he served 20 years with the Anadarko Fire Department.
In 2016, Riffel was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town officials. Hall of Fame honorees must make significant contributions to Oklahoma local government through their positive spirit of public service.
"I am a lucky man to have been given the opportunity to be Woodward's City Manager," Riffel said on Tuesday. "Not many communities enjoy such a long tenure in administration.
"During my 18 years here, we have one through a lot as a community. I take tremendous pride in our organization, but also point out the great support from our citizens in the initiatives we’ve undertaken. In Woodward, we experience extremes - in economic terms, weather, and politics. I’m convinced it’s the innate pioneering spirit built into Woodward that keeps the city resilient."
Riffel said citizens should be proud of the people they employ to deliver city services.
"Many dedicated individuals embody the roles of public servants in all aspects of those jobs, whether they mow the parks, police the streets, fix water leaks in -10 degree weather, pick up massive loads of trash from front yards, or any other task city workers perform," he said.
“We’ve just seen an abundance of growth under Mr Riffel's leadership and he’s definitely gonna be missed in his leadership and his ability to get things done for the city,” Commissioner Steve Bogdahn said. “It'll be a difficult time for the commission to find a replacement but we'll do our due diligence and work as hard as we can to find a suitable replacement to fill his shoes.”
Bogdahn was also on the commission when Riffel was hired.
A number of improvements have been made during Riffel's time as city manager.
Some of the major ones include:
• Renovation of Crystal Beach Park including a new Fuller Park, aquatic center and softball and baseball complexes.
• Building of the Woodward Conference Center, a premiere meeting venue in the area.
• Building of a new fire station.
• Renovating and moving the city offices to Main Street.
Riffel's post-retirement plans include traveling and spending time with his family.
"That's a precious gift that has been so impacted by the Covid world that I want to be sure to take advantage of fully," he said.