Blog Posts Tagged ‘city’

Kim Eckhoff

City of Tolleson


Assigned to complete a Master’s-level course assignment a few years ago, Kim Eckhoff stepped into the Tolleson Public Library to evaluate the small and rural public library from a customer’s perspective and develop a plan from a librarian’s perspective to make it better.

The library’s centralized location inspired so many ideas in Kim.

From 1997 through 2013, Kim was a teacher and school librarian for the Tolleson Elementary School District. Having come to know children, parents and educators in the close-knit community very well while working as their teacher-librarian, she believed some reorganization and expanded programming would have a positive impact on the community. When the position for the city’s librarian became open, Kim was thrilled with the idea to apply and was given the opportunity to set in motion some of the ideas she had put into her assignment.

Libraries have always held a special place in Kim’s heart. As a college student, she found a part-time job working in the school library.

“To me, that was a coup, since the library has always been a special place for me. My mother was a librarian who made sure I had books in my hands every day, especially when I was a developing reader. I feel like a duck in water when I’m in a library,” says Kim.

Those feelings remain the same, as she still loves when she can recommend just the right book to a customer and help them find another when they return raving about her first recommendation.

Literature is still igniting imagination in Kim. After reading a book about a dragon last year with the library’s junior book club, she decided to build a dragon out of paper mache for the city’s Luces de Navidad Parade. It was 10 feet high and 15 feet long.

“I’ve had a lot of big ideas like that over the years and fortunately I have a husband who understands my wild ideas and helps me build them!” Kim says.

As a librarian in a small community, Kim has the opportunity to wear many hats. She spends a lot of time networking with other librarians in Arizona and nationally. She also runs with a lot of ideas to develop programming, coordinating the summer reading program, book clubs, a tutoring program and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities. The library staff also collaborates with other city departments to bring literacy awareness to city events.

“I march in parades, write grants, purchase books, and build the library collection,” Kim says. “Each day is different.”

She also finds that she’s witnessed some strides, both big and small, that the library staff has made this year. From kids chanting rhymes and building their appreciation for literature during story time, to adults learning how to use an e-reader for the first time, Kim feels proud about each accomplishment.

“Libraries transform communities and it’s really satisfying to be a part of that.”

Alison Zelms

Deputy City Manager
City of Prescott

Alison Zelms - Prescott

Many city or town employees have positions that require them to “wear many hats” in their day-to-day responsibilities. For some, the idea of taking on multiple projects and job titles could seem overwhelming. But Prescott Deputy City Manager Alison Zelms knows a thing or two about variety and tackles multiple projects like a pro.

Having grown up on Air Force bases around the world as a child, Zelms had the opportunity to move to different places, see the world and gain perspective. She spent time in West Germany and saw first-hand the vast differences in lifestyle from each side of the Berlin Wall. It was her experience witnessing West and East Berlin that inspired her interest in the importance and daily impact of public policy.

Taking these early-learned passions, Zelms went on to receive her bachelor’s degree and Master in Public Administration. During graduate school at the University of Arkansas, she began her work in local government, starting at the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information. From there she became an assistant to the city manager in University Park, Texas, followed by a position in Evanston, Illinois as management analyst in charge of a $175 million operating budget.

Alison was brought to Arizona through an assistant city manager position with the City of Sedona. It was there that she honed her skills in multi-tasking as she oversaw the finance, economic planning, information technology, arts and culture, communications and public works departments. She also started the City of Sedona’s first intergovernmental relations program, serving as their legislative liaison in addition to her regular duties.

In December, Alison celebrated four years of service with the City of Prescott. Drawing on her experience in legislative work from Scottsdale, one of her “many hats” in Prescott also includes serving as the city’s intergovernmental affairs liaison. Within this role, she monitors legislation, develops the city’s annual legislative policy with the city council and communicates the city’s positions during the legislative session. Multitasking is essential for Zelms and any “part-time intergov,” whose full-time positions only offer them minimal time to work on legislative issues, as she is also responsible for oversight of seven operational areas and is engaged in budget development, personnel management, policy implementation and day-to-day operations.

Zelms thrives in the variety of her multi-faceted position. Though it can be a challenge to cover so much ground, she appreciates the combination of broad supervisory duties and leadership on complex policy issues, in addition to continuous education on new issues and making new connections between people and topics.

“This position is never boring,” said Zelms. “There are always opportunities for even small gains to be made in gaining an audience for an issue or creating solutions.”

Carmen Martinez

City Clerk
City of Avondale

City Clerk

City Clerk

The city clerk is one of the essential positions in municipal government.  Depending on the size of the city or town, the city/town clerk’s responsibilities are varied and often perform functions of city manager, finance officer, human resource director.  In the City of Avondale, the city clerk’s functions include records management, elections, council meeting agenda and minute preparation, public records requests, liquor licensing, annexations and special event permits.

Carmen Martinez was hired as deputy city clerk in 2002, and promoted to city clerk in 2008. She has advanced the functions and services in the city clerk department in so many ways. Her staff is literally the “face” of Avondale – as they manage and staff the front desk in the lobby of city hall, greeting thousands of people who come through the door each year, answering the telephone to the main city hall line, and more.  In 2007, she brought forth the idea of providing passport processing services at city hall.  Since then, the program has generated more than $1.15 million in revenue to the city.

Thanks to Carmen’s efforts, she has also worked with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to host several citizenship ceremonies at Avondale City Hall. The ceremonies, consisting of more than 100 new citizens at each one, are always very moving. Carmen herself has been a keynote speaker at these events, telling her personal story of becoming a naturalized citizen.

When it comes to elections, Carmen has placed a great deal of focus on transparency and voter participation.  In 2008, the city faced a substantial increase in its election costs. In an effort to be accountable to the citizens with their money, the city council approved staff’s recommendation to change the city’s election cycle ahead of the statutory requirement.  This required voter approval.  Carmen recognized this change represented a challenge with respect to independent voters and the need to educate them regarding their choice for a ballot. Working with the community relations department, she conceived the idea of Carmen Electa, Avondale’s own elections ambassador. Carmen Electa is the face of elections in Avondale and she comes out every election to educate voters and their families about voter registration deadlines, issues and choices.  Avondale’s special election was put in the 2008 primary election ballot for voters’ approval.  Avondale chose to host an early voting site for that election and on the last week of the early voting period, saw hundreds of voters each day come into Avondale City Hall to cast their early ballot.

The 2014 primary election was a particularly challenging election in Maricopa County.  There was confusion with polling places; some cities were holding all-mail ballot elections, while others weren’t.  As part of a resident outreach, the city clerk’s department learned that voters would be more likely to vote if voting was more accessible and convenient for them.

In response to that, Avondale now offers its city hall as an early voting site for voters for every election regardless of whether Avondale had an issue on the ballot. Since ballots are printed on demand, ANY voter in Maricopa County can come to Avondale City Hall to cast their ballot.  So beginning with the ongoing 2015 November election, Avondale is hosting an early voting site for every election.

“We want to become to GO TO place where any voter in Maricopa County can cast their vote,” said Carmen. “Our staff is knowledgeable, professional and friendly.  Carmen Electa is preparing for the city’s upcoming 2016 primary election.  We will do our best to reach out to voters and educate them and entice them to cast their ballot.”

A.C. Marriotti

Finance Director
City of Sahuarita


Born in Tacoma, Washington and having grown up in a military family, A.C. Marriotti settled in Tucson where he attended Palo Verde High School and the University of Arizona, earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. Marriotti has served as the Town of Sahuarita’s finance director for nearly 12 years. He was recently awarded the town’s first Manager’s Choice Award in 2015. His finance department has received national recognition for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association many times throughout the years for the town’s budget publications and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.

In addition to the normal duties expected of any financial officer, Marriotti oversees the Finance and Investment Advisory Committee, as well as the town’s IT department. “I really enjoy the variety in my job and learning new things,” Marriotti said.

Known as a team player by his workmates and colleagues, he’s always willing to take on new challenges. Just this year, Marriotti’s department took over waste water utility billing services for the town. This role was taken on suddenly when the private company responsible for billing discontinued their service. Under Marriotti’s leadership, billing cycles were brought up to speed and services were streamlined, including better online payment options, real-time tracking and additional staffing to allow for better customer service. Marriotti has also served on the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee and actively volunteers in his community.

Marriotti’s strength of character shines through in his personal life. He and his wife are licensed foster care providers and advocates for children in need of homes, families and positive learning environments. “There are a variety of ways that we can help kids in need of foster care, and anyone can participate,” Marriotti said. “Donations to foster care agencies help tremendously, and the need in Arizona is great.”


Ted Yocum

Volunteer City of Maricopa

Ted Yocum Ted Yocum is a resident committed to community involvement and has been passionately involved with the City of Maricopa since 2009 when he attended the Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy. “I knew I wanted to make a difference in Maricopa,” says Yocum. And make a difference he did!

Since 2009 Mr. Yocum has volunteered with the police department, chaired the board of adjustment, participated in the development of the 2040 Vision Plan and general plan update, served on the zoning code rewrite task force and currently serves as the vice chairman of the city’s planning and zoning commission, and as a member of the Maricopa Advocate Program.

“From the moment I ventured into Maricopa to look for a home, the friendliness, warmth, and small-town feel enveloped my wife and me. I knew it was the place I wanted to retire to get away from the east coast hustle and hassle. But for me personally, most of all, Maricopa, this blank-slate new city, has given me the opportunity to make a difference; to apply my experience, professional skills, and energy to contribute to the success, growth, and long-term vision for our fantastic new city. ” Yocum describes his participation in the Maricopa Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force as the biggest and most impactful project he has worked on with the city.

Maricopa was incorporated in 2003, when the city was experiencing rapid growth. At the time the decision was made to stay with the Pinal County Zoning Code, but eventually the city needed its own code to keep up with its unique needs. In 2012, city council engaged a consultant to work with a citizens’task force to rewrite the entire zoning code. Yocum served on that task force which worked through monthly meetings and many hours of study, investigation, and discussion over an eighteen-month period. The new code, more than 400 pages long, was adopted by city council on November 5, 2014 and most recently was recognized by the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association as an outstanding zoning code.

Mr. Yocum grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Drexel University and Albright College. He is retired from insurance management, and moved from New Jersey to Maricopa in 2006. He is also the Vice President of the Desert Cedars HOA Board. When he is not championing the City of Maricopa he enjoys bowling, pinochle, the beautiful weather and Maricopa’s friendly people.

“I hope my Maricopa legacy will be that I have used my professional knowledge, skills, and love of the city to enhance the quality of life for future generations.”

Josh Wolfgramm

Heavy Equipment Operator
City of Mesa

Josh Wolfgramm

Josh Wolfgramm has worked for the City of Mesa Transportation Department for 11 years.  He started as a street maintenance worker and has worked himself up to heavy equipment operator on the slurry crew.  A slurry seal is a process where a mat of asphalt emulsion, water, and aggregate is applied to the street to create a new surface.  A slurry seal is used to extend the life of the existing pavement when it starts to show signs of deterioration.  On the slurry crew, Josh operates a heavy piece of equipment called a sand conveyor but is nicknamed a “salad shooter.”  Josh also gets called on to help with many other different tasks, like cleaning up trees after a storm.  His supervisor describes Josh as clever, helpful, and eager – a perfect combination of traits when you are on a transportation field crew and get called on to do many things!


Josh is unique in that he works with and operates heavy equipment during the day, but away from work he is a Polynesian dancer.  Yes, a dancer!  He performs every weekend with a group called the Royal Islanders for special events all around the Valley.  The dance that Josh performs is part of the grand finale and is called the Samoan Fire Knife dance.  During this dance he twirls a heavy baton-like knife that is on fire on both ends.  Josh learned Polynesian dance as a young boy growing up in New Zealand.


Josh moved to the United States 15 years ago after he saw a stunningly beautiful woman performing a Polynesian dance while he was visiting.  It was love at first sight and Josh moved to the US to marry the beautiful dancer, whose name is Sadie.  Together Josh and Sadie have four sons who range in age from five to 12.  The boys are following in their parent’s footsteps and perform Polynesian dance, too.


Aside from working full-time, dancing on the weekends, and attending his sons’ sporting events, Josh is taking college courses, as well.  Somehow he finds time to do it all!

Floyd Gilmore

Show Low Cemetery Grave Digger
City of Show Low



It is difficult to imagine that anyone can be passionate about digging graves, but Floyd Gilmore has dug more than 1,000 graves in the city-owned cemetery since 1976 as an independent backhoe operator. He finds the work fascinating and, sometimes, even exciting, because he “gets to do things no one else has ever done.”

“According to Arizona law, a body doesn’t have to be embalmed if it is buried within 24 hours of death,” says Gilmore. He recalls fielding a frantic call from a local mortician asking that a grave be dug within three hours—or miss the 24-hour window. The decedent, a white male, was buried wrapped in a handmade Indian blanket, a gift for his many years of working alongside Navajos and Apaches on their reservations.

Gilmore buried one of his grown sons in the same manner, whose last wish was to not be embalmed. He was assisted by his other three sons and grandchildren. Gilmore says, “It’s like a family tradition. My kids have always helped me dig graves.”

Floyd Gilmore - Show Low 2

With almost 40 years of experience, Gilmore has disinterred graves across Apache and Navajo counties. Often, the graves are on private property and the new owners want them transplanted. One job was to disinter five graves—four children ages four to 11 and one uncle—who died from an influenza epidemic in the early 1900s. Similar to an archaeological dig, Gilmore and his grandchildren used whisk brooms to clear away the dirt from the remains buried in homemade pine caskets disintegrated by time and moisture. “Moisture is what causes decay,” says Gilmore.

As proof, he recalls disinterring the graves of a family buried in dry sand on a private ranch in Apache County.  The earliest, the father, was buried in 1876, the mother in 1890, and the children in early 1900. The pine boxes holding the decedents were intact and the mother was mummified, her clothes and blond hair otherwise uninterrupted by time.

Next time you visit a cemetery, check the headstones and see what intriguing story you might uncover.

Bobby Tyler

City of Holbrook


Mayor Robert “Bobby” E. Tyler served for four years on the Holbrook City Council beginning May, 2011 when he was sworn in as the newest elected member of the city council. He was sworn into his current position as mayor on May 26, 2015.

He has been a part of, and served the community with the Holbrook Volunteer Fire Department, Holbrook Police Program, and has a long history of involvement with the youth of Holbrook; primarily through sports programs to include city and school leagues.

Mayor Tyler was the third of six children born to Don & Johnnie Tyler. He is a third generation Holbrook native who graduated from Holbrook High School in 1977. He drove trucks for the City Street Department and then had a long career with Arizona Public Service Co. at Cholla Power Plant and later worked for Tucson Electric Power in Springerville.

He is a proud father and grandfather, who encourages his children with the words his parents instilled in him; “With hard work and the right attitude, you can accomplish your goals.”




Steve Moore

City Attorney
City of Yuma

Steve Moore grew up in Hayden, Arizona.  After graduating from the University of Arizona Law school he hitchhiked around the world for almost three years.  During that time he visited 36 countries and had various jobs, including working in three Olympics, a movie in Holland (“A Bridge Too Far”) and a brewery in Western Australia.

He served as the assistant city attorney in the City of Yuma for about two and a half years before going into private practice.  He then became the city attorney in 1986 and has been the city attorney for the City of Yuma for 29 years.  Moores responsibilities include both civil and criminal (prosecutor’s office ).  In Yuma, the risk management department is also part of his responsibilities.  During Moores tenure, hes worked for eight mayors and eight city administrators (including interims).  The City of Yuma has grown from approximately 60,000 people to almost 100,000 people while hes been in office.

Moore says he has been fortunate to have been elected to the Yuma County Bar Association, twice as president of the Arizona City Attorneys Association and president of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), which is comprised of the city attorneys of the United States and Canada. He was also only the second president of IMLA from the state of Arizona and the first in 30 years.

In general city attorneys have a position similar to a corporation counsel for a large corporation.  In Arizona a municipal corporation handles contracts, claims, demands, law suits, legal advice, human resource issues, personnel issues, bond financing issues, purchasing regulations, etc.  The only difference is particular types of municipal corporations have public safety personnel and issues that are usually not present in other large corporations.

One of Moores proudest accomplishments in this position is being part of a small group of individuals that was responsible for increasing the net water resources available to the City of Yuma from the Colorado River by approximately 80%.  He thinks all city attorneys are rewarded in practicing through the diversity of issues in their jobs.

“About the time I think Ive seen it all, something unique comes through the door,” Moore says. “When I took the city attorneys job, I said I would quit if it got boring.  Twenty nine years later its still not boring. “

Denise Bates

Arts and Culture Commission Member
City of Goodyear

Denise Bates

When Dr. Denise Bates moved to Goodyear from DowntownPhoenix nine years ago, she wanted to learn more about the heritage of the city she and her family moved to. Now, Bates is part of a push behind the Goodyear Mobile Museum that is gaining momentum.

After working closely with the Three Rivers Historical Society and local historian Sally Kiko to acquire pictures for the Images of America series book about Goodyear in 2012, Bates wanted to take the city’s history lesson to another level, so to speak – a visual element that would be available at city events and for organizations to see.

So what did Bates do? A professor at Arizona State University who holds a doctorate in history, she later became a member of the Goodyear Arts and Culture Commission and added a historical aspect to the group. Bates began putting together large vintage photographs on portable panels that told the city’s history. Truly a grassroots effort, she expanded on the idea from the former history trail project that was started in partnership with the city, the Maricopa County Parks and Three Rivers Historical Society a number of years ago.

Drawing from the archives of the Three Rivers Historical Society and the collection of Goodyear resident Gloria King, who operated the museum, Memories, the Goodyear Mobile Museum became a reality.Bates_004

“We’re taking the history to the people instead of waiting for the people to come see the history,” Bates said. “It’s been an ambitious project.”

Bates_005Those images now can be seen on 20 different displays, each depicting Goodyear’s beginnings through its founder – Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Executive Paul Litchfield, the town’s history in cotton growing, and its rich history in defense and aerospace industries through Goodyear Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. Then, there’s the story of Goodyear’s rapid growth just before it became the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.

“I’m a firm believer in that you must know the history of the city where you live,” Bates said. “It’s important to share it with others. Some of those facts about the history that are interesting to know: Why is the city named Goodyear? Who were some of its famous residents? History is people; it’s places.”

“Goodyear has a distinct identity, and the Mobile Museum demonstrates who we are,” Bates added. “It reflects Goodyear and the innovation it represents.