Ramsey County's Jolly decides it's time to go

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 9:25 AM
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Julio “Jolly” Mangine started for the county in the 1980s as an electrician, but that was several promotions ago. He retires as director of county property management.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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The Ramsey County worker everyone knows as Jolly will retire at the end of January.

Julio Mangine started working for the county as an electrician in the early 1980s. He was promoted several times through various project management jobs and became director of county property management in 1996. He's held the job ever since.

Mangine, 62, will take time to travel and will work on a part-time contract with the county. A bout with cancer last year helped lead to his decision to retire. He answered some questions last week:

Q Why retire now?

A My wife and I have developed a plan. It's one of those intangibles. You know when it's time to leave.

Q What is your biggest county achievement?

A In 1995, the percentage of minority and women [in contracting and construction] was less than .75 percent. Today, every project varies, but typically it's more than 20 percent. That's a value that the County Board had for us. We've done a lot of work in sustainability, being green. Out of 2.5 million square feet, we've reduced our energy [costs] by a sizable amount.

Q What about bricks and mortar?

A If you want to talk about a particular project, the Law Enforcement Center. Siting it was one of the most difficult decisions I've had in my career. I went to 61 public meetings in one year on that siting. Turned out to be a huge campus. ... Probably the most difficult and maybe the project that turned out the best.

Q What's on your unfinished bucket list?

A When we acquired the West Publishing building, I was the first person to come into [the building]. Since I was the first one to come here, I would have liked to have been the last one to leave and have it sold. (Ramsey County wants to find a new use for the riverfront office building, but the real estate market and the economy have stalled attempts in recent years.)

Q What do you and Judith plan to do?

A The obvious thing is to spend more time with each other and family. The winters are getting old for me. I want to get to a little bit warmer place.

Q Where will you visit?

A Europe. Go back to China. My wife has wanted to go for years and years to Australia. We'll be getting there for sure. ... I'm going to do a road trip. I've never done a road trip. ... We're just getting out the atlases and saying, "Where do we want to go?"

Rochelle Olson • 651-925-5035 Twitter: @rochelleolson

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