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Managing a city of more than 12,000 residents requires discipline, and one man has been recognized for dutifully exercising his management skills over the past 15 years for Orangeburg.

Everything from streetscapes to making sure building and other enforcement codes are upheld in the city can be traced back to the desk of Orangeburg City Administrator John Yow, who also makes recommendations for community development projects.

Because Yow has trained and conditioned himself to work toward the improvement of the city and its residents beyond his own needs and opinions, he has been designated the exemplification of self-discipline for January 2006 as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.

“I’m certainly honored to be thought of in that manner. I’m surprised, but in working for the public sector and the city, you have to practice self-discipline to be effective in your position,” Yow said. “I don’t know if I have as much self-discipline that the people that nominated me think I have, but I’ll certainly try to live up to that expectation.”

The Asheboro, N.C. native was an assistant city administrator in Georgetown before coming to Orangeburg, where he lives with his wife, Amy, and several pets.

Yow said self-discipline is required to keep the city moving forward.

“In this city management profession, as in many professions, there are a lot of external influences that can form your opinions and direct you in one way or the other. You try to remain disciplined in keeping the city moving in the right direction.

“I think our best years are still to come. I think that there’s a tremendous amount of work that remains. We just can’t lose sight that we’re working on a long-term project in downtown revitalization and in overall community enhancement,” Yow said.

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Orangeburg Mayor Paul Miller says Yow is deserving of the honor because it takes self-discipline keep all of the city’s projects on track

“With all of the various and sundry projects that we have going on and have had going on, it takes someone with self-discipline to manage and keep all of them going at the same time. Being able to keep (track of) day-to-day business that is not necessarily related to any specific project also takes self-discipline,” Miller said.

“My job is to make professional recommendations to city council and to always keep my personal beliefs or inclinations separate. The other thing with self-discipline is patience,” Yow said.

“So many things we work on take years of planning, a lot of staff input from citizens and then council’s final directions. A lot of projects take years to materialize, and you try to remain disciplined and not lose your enthusiasm for projects even though they may take several years,” he said.

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