Information contributed by Peter Sanders, LAFD

Maggie Whelan, longtime Personnel GM and Club Member, passes away from cancer.

Margaret “Maggie” Whelan, former General Manager of the City’s Personnel Dept., Club Member, and a 47-year City employee, passed away on Thursday, June 6, after a brief, courageous battle with cancer. She was 69.

Whelan, first hired by Personnel in 1967 as an 18-year-old Clerk Typist, steadily rose through the ranks in various roles at Personnel and worked for 26 years in Rec and Parks before being appointed by then-Mayor Richard Riordan as the General Manager of Personnel in 2000. She served in that capacity under four different mayors until her retirement in June 2014.

As GM of Personnel, Whelan was responsible for the agency that oversees the recruitment and human resource functions of more than 44,000 employees across 37 City departments. She chaired the City’s Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee, and was appointed to the City’s Board of Deferred Compensation Administration, which manages the $3.5 billion Deferred Compensation Plan. Whelan was a member of the USC Master of Public Administration Advisory Board and the past president of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, representing the entity in locations across the United States and in London, Beijing, Dubai, and Ottawa.

From 2004: Councilmen Dennis Zine (left) and Tom LaBonge with Maggie Whelan.

Born Margaret Mary Nolan on Aug. 27, 1949, in Topeka, Kan., she 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, attended San Gabriel Mission High School and was hired by the City of LA upon her graduation. In 1973, while working for the City, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from Cal State University Los Angeles.

In 1978, while working for Rec and Parks she met Thomas Whelan, who also worked in the department. They married in Las Vegas the following year and their daughter Patricia was born in 1984, ending Maggie and Tom’s five-year run of bliss.

Whelan was an active member of her community in Alhambra, serving as a Commissioner on that City’s Board of Parks and Recreation and Civil Service Commission. She enjoyed her numerous book club associations and spending time with her family and friends on the Colorado River and at Bass Lake in Madera County. She is survived by Thomas, her husband of 40 years; her daughter Patricia; son-in-law Peter; step-grandson Jack; and five surviving siblings. Plans for a memorial service are pending.


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