Former Los Angeles Personnel Department General Manager Margaret Whelan has died at age 69 from cancer, her family announced Friday.
Whelan was a 47-year city employee and a president of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources.
Whelan was appointed general manager in 2000 by then-Mayor Richard Riordan, retiring in 2014. She died Thursday.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore called Whelan “a true public servant.”
“She was a dedicated leader, friend, and mentor to many in our City family,” Moore tweeted. “She will be greatly missed.”
Whelan was hired by the city’s Personnel Department in 1967 as an 18-year-old clerk typist shortly after graduating from San Gabriel Mission High School. She spent 26 years working in the Department of Recreation and Parks, where she met her husband, Thomas. They were married in 1979.
As general manager of the Personnel Department, Whelan was responsible for the agency that oversees the recruitment and human resource functions of more than 44,000 employees across 37 city departments.
Whelan chaired the city’s Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee and was appointed to the Board of Deferred Compensation Administration, which manages the $3.5 billion Deferred Compensation Plan.
Whelan was a member of Alhambra’s Parks & Recreation Commission and Civil Service Commission.
Born Margaret Mary Nolan on Aug. 27, 1949, in Topeka, Kansas, Whelan was the fourth of eight children to Joseph and Rita Nolan. Her father worked in accounting for the Santa Fe Railroad. Her mother was a nurse and homemaker.
She moved with her family to Alhambra in 1957. Whelan received a bachelor’s degree in history from Cal State Los Angeles in 1973.
Whelan is survived by her husband, daughter Patricia, son-in-law Peter Sanders, step-grandson Jack, and five siblings. Plans for a memorial service are pending.
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