City Manager Wes Hare partners with association to meet with local governments

City Manager Wes Hare is back in Albany after spending just over a week in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he helped lead a solid waste disposal training program for area officials.

Hare along with two other Americans focused their presentations on how to create a solid waste plan by showing participants how to reduce waste at the outset and then explaining different disposal methods available, such as incineration or using landfills.

Currently, he said, the waste in Marrakesh is taken to dumps.

To help the 18 participants grasp various ideas, the discussions “that could be grueling because they went for nine hours each day” centered on a fictional city, Hare said. “We gave parameters so they could see what all goes into waste disposal.”

As an example, he explained how garbage is handled at the Coffin Butte Landfill on Highway 99W. Hare told them the trash brought there is placed in cells that are lined and later the cells are capped.

“Our job wasn’t to say how to do it,” he said. “We just told them about elements that would go into a plan. They could take what we were teaching and use it in their own situations.”

The language of government in Morocco is French so the presentations in English were simultaneously translated for the students.

“The Moroccan officials were great,” Hare said. “They were engaged, interested, and they appreciated what we were offering, and it was encouraging to work with them.”

During his time off, Hare said he rode a camel and visited a square that had a snake charmer, acrobats, musicians and vendors.

Hare wasn’t expecting to make the trip but got a call from a United States government training program for Moroccan officials. One of the instructors, a county employee from North Carolina, had a family issue come up and couldn’t go, so Hare took his place.

Hare has made several trips overseas under the auspices of the International City-County Management Association. So far, he’s traveled to Indonesia, Iraq, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Japan.

“I do it in part because I enjoy the work, I learn about other cultures and it helps me in my work to see how other people do things,” he said. “Doing this, you learn to appreciate what you have.”

His memories include trips to Sri Lanka where he learned that a town of 15,000 people had an annual budget of $50,000. The city was not responsible, however, for providing police or fire protection.

Also in Sri Lanka he experienced a “touching moment” when he was asked to present to tsunami orphans bank books indicating that small amounts of money had been deposited in accounts for them. The kids got down on the floor and bowed to him, which brought tears to Hare’s eyes.

Hare primarily uses vacation time to go on his trips but sometimes he takes a leave of absence.

Cathy Ingalls is the city government reporter. She can be reached at cathy.ingalls@lee.net or at 541-812-6094.

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