Mesa City Manager Chris Brady at “Celebrate Mesa” event with wife Shawna and daughter Whitney
At the Arizona City/County Management Association’s Winter Conference Awards Ceremony, Mesa City Manager Chris Brady was awarded the John J. Debolske Award, the highest honor that ACMA bestows upon an active Arizona city or county manager. The namesake of the award, Jack DeBolkse, was the Executive Director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns for 40 years, and was an advocate for the council-manager form of government.
Chris was recognized for his 25 years of service to the local government profession, and most notably his outstanding accomplishments in Mesa by partnering with the Mesa City Council, city staff and our residents in creating transformational projects to build a better Mesa. As city manager, Chris steered Mesa through some of the most difficult economic times in recent history. He made certain that Mesa would be in a stronger position to progress during and after the recession. Even during these times, in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013 the city was successful in having Mesa voters approve bonds for public safety facilities, utility infrastructure, streets, parks and cultural facilities to enhance the lives of Mesa residents.
Mesa has recently achieved great economic development success in extending light rail through downtown Mesa which will open in 2015 with another 2-mile extension planned to open in 2018; recruited five liberal arts colleges to Mesa, housing some of them in once vacant buildings; retained the Chicago Cubs and just opened the new Cubs Spring Training Complex and adjacent spectacular Riverview Park; came to an agreement with the Oakland Athletics to rehab the Cubs former stadium so they can begin Spring Training in 2015; and brought an Apple manufacturing facility to Mesa. Through Chris’ leadership, these successes have gained Mesa national and international recognition as being tactically bold and forward thinking.
Chris was also recognized for creating a leadership pipeline, fostering the next generation of local government leaders and ensuring the future success of the city of Mesa by developing all levels of the organization. Chris regularly meets with college students to share his expertise, has created internship and full-time employment opportunities for recent college graduates, created the Executive Manager Program which rotates four city employees per year through the city manager’s office, and regularly shares Mesa’s best practices with other communities at national and state conferences.
“This is an incredible and unexpected honor.” Brady said, “I have devoted my professional life to public service and my experience in the city of Mesa over the last 8 years has been both challenging and rewarding. The community, city employees and elected officials have worked hard to bring many successful projects and initiatives to fruition.”