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Vail Daily column: Short time to check out

Don Rogers
My View
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

“Listen,” I said during our managers meeting, “Starting this week, I’ll stop doing the coverage chart, markups, Hits & Misses,” ticking items off on my fingers. “I’m flying out west to visit The Union on Friday. Hah, by our next meeting I’ll be checked out completely and all Grass Valley all the time.”

We laughed, though it’s pretty much the truth.

“You’re an idiot,” the ad director said. Again.

“Watch, Ben will apply,” another manager joked. More laughs. My son, who until now had been blocked by nepotism policy.

“I think he’s a little busy right now with the lake,” I said. “Besides, his mother would kill him.” He’s the co-GM of the Sierra Sun in Truckee and Incline Village’s Bonanza.

Of course the kid will leap someday for an opportunity here, where he grew up and his wife was born. His mother will be furious even though she understands. I’ll secretly be happy to have a place to stay and extra reason to visit.

But this is a few years away. Meantime, there’s a grandbaby to be born, a new staff, paper and community to learn. A new life to step into.

And some finishing up with the old one, too. Friends to see, reports to finish, tasks to divvy up in the meantime before a new publisher takes over the Vail Daily.

The Daily has great oversight to go with strong managers. The general manager of our mountain papers, Jim Morgan, lives in Eagle. Company President Bob Brown, the Vail Daily publisher who hired me as editor back in 1999, lives in Singletree.

And me. Sure, I’ll claim to have checked out. But we all know Vail never leaves you. I’ll always be happy to help if asked and only if asked. I also know the last thing anyone needs is a departed boss still sticking his nose into things. Don’t look in the rearview mirror; you’re not going that way. Lot of truth in that slogan.

For some time now, I haven’t needed to have a second thought about leaving town with full confidence in our department managers holding down the fort. I followed the dictum to hire and promote smarter, better, more clever people than yourself — and then free them as much as possible to do their smarter, better, more clever thing. If anything, this will just be more good experience for them.

Now my mission is to build trust and understanding with a new group as well as I can and learn quickly and well enough to contribute to their success. Simple! Not the same as easy, of course.

I start in Grass Valley on Monday, May 2. So a short period of schizophrenia with my mind in two places at once, not fully in either.

My wife and daughter will stay here at first, getting the house ready to sell. It will be fun to see the valley as a visitor, and maybe dangerous too.

I might start pining to return. Yikes. They better fill that spot quick.

Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2920.


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