Before you read the rest of this editorial, let your eyes scan down to the bottom of the page it’s on, if you’re reading the print edition. If you’re reading onine, go find the March 24 print edition and turn to Page 4 or look it up in the digital edition available here on the website. The keen-eyed among you will notice that the face of Lynn Taylor, who served as general manager and published of the paper since September 2010, is no longer among the members of the Thompson Citizen news team.
For those of you who don’t know already, Lynn has resigned from the paper after more than a dozen years in order to return to the city, which she has previously served as city manager, as assistant treasurer, as an executive assistant to Mayor Don MacLean and as a tax clerk. On balance, this is good for the city, even though it was bad news for two members of the staff who worked her during her entire 12-plus years as general manager and publisher.
Though many people, including myself, often thought of and referred to Lynn as a former city manager, she spent almost as many years in the newspaper industry as she did in that role, and the people who worked here with her will likely always think of her as a newspaper publisher.
The first time I remember meeting Lynn wasn’t when she was city manager (I began my time here at the Citizen focusing on local sports and only occasionally wrote about politics and other news topics or filled in for other reporters to cover things like city council meetings or school board). It was after she retired as city manager 15 years ago, having served in the role for 13 years. If you know Lynn, you may find the idea of her being retired a little amusing, and you also wouldn’t be surprised to heard that she soon began working again, serving as the senior election official for the city in a 2009 byelection and for part of the 2010 general municipal election campaign before she resigned from that position and joined the Citizen as general manager. Anyways, I was doing one of my infrequent fill-ins as a municipal politics reporter and I remember sitting in the audience at City Hall, rather than at the press table for some reason, opening my camera bag to dig out my notebook and suffering an epic journalist fail. No notebook. Camera? Check. Pens? Check. Notebook. No check, because I obviously didn’t check it before heading to City Hall. So, as I was scribbling notes on the back of my business cards, which I have always had literally hundreds of since I usually forget to hand them out, someone tapped on my shoulder. It was Lynn. Handing me a notebook. Hopefully I whispered thank you. And despite her joining the Citizen knowing me at least partly as the reporter who had gone to a council meeting with no paper, she didn’t seem to hold it against me.
During her time at the Citizen, Lynn Taylor was the best kind of boss. She delegated responsibility and expected accountability. She knew which lane was hers and stayed in it for the most part, occasionally veering over to suggest a story idea here or there but never obtrusively or demandingly. She treated her employees like family and fought on their behalf with her bosses. She could take no for an answer from those she reported to, but was also more than willing to ask them the same important questions again and again if that wasn’t the answer she wanted, which it never was, and wasn’t afraid to tell them exactly what she actually thought.
With her firsthand knowledge of Thompson’s history and the way that its city government worked, Lynn was a valuable resource for reporters who needed some context, or help understanding what financial documents meant. She also knows a lot of funny stories of things that happened in Thompson, having been her for most of the last 51 years.
There’s a lot of good things I could say about Lynn Taylor, even though I know that part of her will sort of hate this column because she likes being made the centre of attention about as much as she loves having her photo taken. She gave this newspaper everything she had, from putting in extra hours in the evenings and on weekends trying to stay on top of the many hats she wore in her role at the top. But perhaps it’s most fitting to use her own words against her. The day before her last day at the Citizen, she told me and Ryan Lynds, who have both been employees of this paper from before her first day on the job until after her last one, that if it wasn’t for us, she might not have stayed here as long as she did. The feeling is definitely mutual.
The coworkers she left behind will definitely miss Lynn now that she’s started her new job, but all the qualities that made her so valuable to this paper and to the people she worked with here haven’t changed now that she’s moved back to her previous employer. But perhaps, above all, the thing that will make Lynn a great addition to the city administration is her dedication to Thompson and her desire to see it be the best city it can. She moved here in 1972 and remained here for eight years before spending six years in Winnipeg. But Thompson had clearly already become her home and she jumped at the chance to move back and hasn’t left since. Lynn will tell you that she would have never had the career opportunities that she did in her life if she hadn’t moved to Thompson. That’s probably a little bit modest on her behalf because she would be capable of what she’s done here in many other communities, I’m sure, but the love she has for Thompson is what makes her resignation from the Citizen our loss, but the entire city’s gain.