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Thursday, March 5, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 12.0° F  Fair
The Daily
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Citizen Dave: Dean Brasser, a Triple-A guy

He kept a sign in his office that read, "Candor is always the best policy." He was as professional and straight-laced as they come. I don't know if he owned a pair of wingtips, but he could have. He also traveled Europe in the late '60s in a VW Microbus named the "Love Mobile."

Madison's long-time Comptroller Dean Brasser retired on July 1 after more then three decades managing the city's bottom line numbers. Madison's fiscal health is due in no small measure to his steady counsel over the years. He discouraged policy makers (including me) from doing things that were just plain dumb, and often, but not always, we took his advice. When we didn't, we usually wound up regretting it. Often, "because Dean Brasser says it's the right thing to do" was the end of any debate over fiscal matters.

Dean retired long before he needed to. He's in good health, and at the top of his game, and he's still a kid at not yet 60 years old. He told me he left now because he wanted to explore a different part of himself -- I guess that part that took off to Europe and drove the countryside and the cities just to see what might happen next. After a long and successful career of being the fiscal conscience of a healthy city, always the adult in every room, Dean now gets to find out what else he can do in the world.

Madison's loss is the world's gain. Happy and fascinating travels, Dean.

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