Tate has been working in the Information Technology department at the city of Columbus since
When he began work, the East and West wings of the
Tate was scheduled to retire as IT director on
"It was my mistake," Tate said of the paperwork error.
We should all screw up like that.
Here's one way to look at it: "I am going on a long
And he has earned it.
Since 1995, he has managed a department that has undergone drastic and constant change.
And he managed a department where his wife of 29 years,
"Carmen told me to put her in there and if anybody said anything, he would take the heat," Charles said.
That the Tates have walked the line without scandal is a credit to them.
And he has managed a department that has grown in responsibility, but lost employees along the way. There were more than 30 employees in IT in the 1970s -- many of them in data entry jobs. Today, there are 23 in a department in control of a complex computer information system. Tate was old school in a new-school business that has changed as rapidly as some folks change socks.
He has an associate degree from
IT back in the early 1970s was a working person's job.
"Back then it was a vocation," Tate said. "And that is how I got into it. It is a totally different world today. I guess now it is more of a profession." And despite his lack of a formal education,
You know, everything emails to payroll to reports.
And all of that is public information, almost all of it available to us -- the public. Many requests for public information made through the city attorney and various department heads end up falling in Tate's lap because he is the custodian of the records.
Some public officials are stingy with those records and look for ways to block access. They treat the records like personal property, not public business.
If the law says you can have it, Tate was always the first to cough it up.
"Those records belong to the tax payers; they belong to the government; they don't belong to me," Tate said Monday on his last day of work.
He should have sent that statement in an email to every city employee as his last official act. It is simple, true and the backbone of our government.
Today marks the start of a new journey for a guy who is a young 61 years old.
"I have been on call since 1979," Tate said. "That's a long time to carry a pager or a cellphone."
That's a lot of years of problem solving on the fly.
Thanks for your service to this city and its taxpayers -- your bosses. Here's hoping you have a great
You earned it.
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