Monthly Archives: June 2014

Remarks on Charles Jones’ Retirement: Danielle Marten

Good afternoon,

My name is Danielle Marten. I am a 2011 graduate of the Certified Public Manager program through the KU Public Management Center and I am a current MPA student.  I have been fortunate enough to learn many valuable lessons from Charles during both the CPM and MPA program.

For anyone in the room that has heard his retelling of a mad hatter named Sgt Boston Corbett to those that have participated in his tour of the State House, you know that he can make history come to life.  From his love of history, I learned that you must look at where you have been in order to clearly assess your current situation.  Do not lose sight of the big picture.

Charles also taught me to make sure you have the right people at the table when you are trying to move a new idea forward. By right people, I do not mean those that always agree with you.  You must also include those with differing opinions as great solutions often come when a single idea is challenged.

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned from Charles is the value of experience. Throughout my MPA program, he brought professionals from various public agencies to speak to our classes regarding what it is really like to apply the knowledge we learned in a real world setting.  As a practitioner himself, he also brought his past experiences and advice to the classroom.  This was specifically true as I was experiencing an ethical challenge while I enrolled in his ethics class.  Charles helped me not only realize the true ethical dilemma I was dealing with but he also helped guide me towards an appropriate solution.

In closing, I am not only here to speak from my own experiences. I was asked to speak from a student perspective.  That being said, I contacted a few of his former students and asked for their perspective as to what they learned from Charles.  I would like to share a couple of those responses with you today.

The first is from Emily Farley.  She writes “Charles led his lectures with enthusiasm for public service.  His background was a true testament of the dedication to public administration as he served at multiple levels of government.  With those experiences and his academic education he taught students to write beautifully, and to think ethically.  I find Charles to be authentic and compassionate for his fellow professors and students.  He has made an impact in how I want to be seen as a public servant to Kansans and I am very grateful for all the lessons I have learned”.

The second is from Carla Williams. She writes “I was personally and professionally challenged by Professor Jones, for which I am absolutely grateful.  I appreciate his candor and his mesmerizing skill with storytelling and playing the ukulele.  I have carried from one class to the next concepts such as bounded rationality, punctuated equilibrium and identifying and assessing ideological constructs.  I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him just as he was thankful to have learned from Heifetz.

Charles, on behalf of all of your former students, thank you. We are grateful for everything you have taught us and we wish you luck with the next chapter of your life.

Thank you.

Danielle Marten, CFP

Traffic Safety Consultant

Bureau of Transportation Safety & Technology

Kansas Department of Transportation

Remarks on Charles Jones’ Retirement: Dr. George Frederickson

Charles Jones Retirement Reception remarks by George Frederickson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas


Charles Jones

Charles Jones, former director

I am sure you will all agree that Charles Jones is a serious man. He is a man of high purposes.  Charles Jones is a man to be reckoned with.

How do we know this?

First, there is the matter of his name.

He is Charles Jones.

He is not Charlie Jones.

He is not Chuck Jones.

And he is certainly not Chucky Jones.

Charles Jones, a serious man, a man of high purposes, a man to be reckoned with.

In his early years Charles lived in Arizona and New Mexico. Then, at about age 12, his family moved to Los Angeles, but not just any place in L.A., they moved to the San Fernando Valley.

You have all heard of “valley girls.” Well, the “valley” in “valley girls” is the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles.  Valley girls tend to be blond, toned, tanned, well dressed and to spend a lot of time at the mall, and to be, as the song says, material girls.  And they have their own language.   Like totally rad, what—ever.

You may not have heard of “valley boys.” Valley boys are trim and fit, avoid fried foods, and have good hair.  They eat avocados.  Avocados grow like kudzu in the San Fernando Valley.

Valley boys and girls do not go to movies, they go to films, and especially to film festivals.

Charles graduated from Van Nuys High School, in the heart of the Valley. Other distinguished valley boys who graduated from Van Nuys High School include:

Clint Eastwood

Robert Redwood

Don Drysdale

Stacy Keach

Do you see where Charles Jones fits here? Lean, well dressed, good hair, avocados.

Who else graduated from Van Nuys High School?

Natalie Wood

Jane Russell

Marilyn Monroe

I rest my case.

After high school Charles completed two years at Pierce College in the Valley.

Charles then moved to Lawrence and enrolled in the University of Kansas, majoring in biology. There are rumors that a young lady may have influenced  Charles’  decision to move to Kansas.  But never mind.  Far be it from me to monger a rumor.

Not long after coming to Lawrence, Charles befriended Francis Horowitz, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at KU. Over the years Dr. Horowitz became Charles’ good friend, wise mentor, and muse.

After graduation Charles took a position in the government of the State of Kansas, initially with the Kansas Corporation Commission. He steadily advanced in the range of his responsibilities and accomplishments.  His final position in state government was four years as the Director of Environment Agency in the Department of Health and Environment in the administration of Governor Joan Finney, where he was responsible for more than 400 employees and a budget of more than 40 million dollars.  At the completion of the Finney administration in 1995, and after XXXX years of state service, it is safe to say that no one knew more about Kansas environmental policy than Charles Jones.

Along the way Charles stepped away from state government for two years, 1987 and 1988, to earn an MPA degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. While there he took a particular interest in transformational leadership.

After the Finney administration, Charles consulted for a couple of years. Then, in 1998 he was elected a Douglas County Commissioner.  It might be said that Charles was a bit over prepared for a position on the county commission.  He was twice elected and served for over 5 years.

In the midwinter of 2003, I was summoned to Strong Hall where I was given the bad news that the wonderful Joe Harkin was resigning as Director of the KU Public Management Center. I was asked to serve as Interim Director of the Center and as Chair of the search committee for a new director.  It was during the course of searching for a new PMC director that I first came in contact with Charles.  He was appointed the new Director on August 1st, 2003, just a month shy of 11 years ago.

Over the course of that 11 years, Charles and I worked together on sundry committees and projects, and seldom missed an opportunity to talk about public administration, about leadership, about Kansas, and about politics.   We often lunch together, with Charles ordering something with avocado in it.

Charles has become a valued member of the faculty, a voice of reason and insight. He is often the source of different and original ways of looking at things.  As a faculty member he carried essentially a full teaching load while directing the PMC.  And, his teaching is superb.

As I reflect on the past 11 years it comes to me that Charles was simultaneously teaching transformational  leadership in the MPA curriculum and practicing transformational leadership at the PMC.  Transformation is about change and betterment.  Charles is a man who practices what he preaches.  Here are some of the transformations that Charles led:

  1. Shifted the organizational arrangements for the PMC from Continuing Education to what is now the School of Public Affairs and Administration.
  2. Greatly expanded the number of students in the Certified Public Manager Program, most particularly increasing the number of city, county and other local government CPM students.
  3. Significantly increased the number of CPM students who moved into the career MPA program.
  4. It is safe to say that the University of Kansas now has one of the top CPM programs in the country.
  5. Moved the day-to-day operations of the PMC from Topeka to the central offices of the School of Public Affairs and Administration in Wescoe Hall on the Lawrence Campus.
  6. Relocated the PMC Topeka classrooms to the Brown v. Board of Education building.
  7. Established the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy in conjunction with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

I know a few things about the glacial pace of university change and can say absolutely that this rate of change is astonishing.

As I said earlier, Charles is a serious man. Charles is a man of high purposes.  Charles is a man to be reckoned with.  Douglas County is better because of Charles Jones.  The state of Kansas is better because of Charles Jones.  And, the University of Kansas is better because of Charles Jones.