Wayne Pyle usually wears a suit and tie in his day-to-day work as West Valley City's manager. But these days, he's in Army green.
Since mid-December, Pyle - a master sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves - has been stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., preparing for an extended nation-building assignment this spring in Afghanistan.
For Pyle, who has been in the Army Reserves for 18 years, this is his second deployment with the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion. In 2003, fewer than two months after accepting the post as city manager for Utah's second largest city, Pyle spent nine months at Fort Carson, Colo.
"This time it's a little bit different," said Assistant City Manager Paul Isaac, who is acting in Pyle's stead during his absence.
When Pyle was just a state away, Isaac kept in constant contact with him on issues facing the city. Soon, that will be much more difficult to do.
"He's in Fort Dix right now, and we touch base from time to time," Isaac said. "But we don't anticipate that we'll be able to do that much longer."
In advance of his leaving, Pyle laid the groundwork for Isaac and other department heads to steer the city without him.
"He counseled with all of us. He wants us to carry out his agenda as far as strategic direction," Isaac said. "We're moving forward with all the documents we already have in place, in the short and long term."
With Pyle gone, Deputy City Attorney Nicole Cottle has taken over the job of assistant city manager while Isaac serves as acting city manager.
"We sure have been devastated by him [Pyle] being gone and miss his leadership," Cottle said. "Paul and I have quite an opportunity to work in his stead, and we hope he comes home soon and safe."
Pyle is expected to return in mid-2007, Isaac said.