Blog Posts Tagged ‘municipal-services’

Town of Queen Creek Maintenance and Operations Supervisor keeps town parks and municipal grounds in top condition

queen creek profile sept 6

Maintenance and Operations Supervisor Steve Gonzales works to ensure the Town’s high use, high visibility areas are maintained.

By Donyelle Kesler, Digital Information Specialist

When residents begin heading out to their favorite biking and hiking trails and Little League teams hit the ball fields, Maintenance and Operations Supervisor Steve Gonzales is working to ensure all Queen Creek parks and municipal grounds are in top condition and ready for their use.

Gonzales is responsible for the Town’s high use, high visibility areas and also oversees department-wide purchasing, works with contractors and takes lead when needed on Town improvement projects.

“Our parks and municipal grounds are important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life and vitality in our community,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said. “We are lucky to have Steve and his team in our Maintenance and Operation division. These professionals are committed to maintaining the Town land and helping to enhance the quality of life in Queen Creek.”

Despite having multiple individual responsibilities, Gonzales possesses a team mentality and believes that it’s through the hard work of entire Maintenance Division that things run smoothly.

“Nobody does anything without each other,” Gonzales said. “We have a very strong team that takes a lot of pride in what they do. For us, projects are never finished. When people say the parks or projects are looking good, our response is ‘We’re getting close.’”

Gonzales supervises four part-time and six full-time technicians. He makes it a priority that each member of his team has the opportunity to attend the most comprehensive trainings to perform to the best of their ability.

“Watching the team members grow professionally is really rewarding,” Gonzales said. “Seeing them come in green and being able to help them, making sure they get the best training they can so they can do their best, that’s what I enjoy most about what I do.”

And Gonzales’ workload won’t slow anytime soon as he begins focusing on upcoming projects such as the Town’s planned dog park and splash pad, both of which he’ll will be working to create a maintenance plan from scratch. He also recently took lead on a project to implement a Town-wide computerized irrigation system.

“Everyone goes to Steve for everything,” Municipal Grounds Unit Superintendent Rich Purcell said. “He’s really the go-to guy in our division and is always the first one here and the last one to leave.”

Gonzales has worked with the Town for more than eight years and has an extensive resume with certifications in pest management, playground safety inspection and turf grass. He is also a certified arborist, and has received certifications from the International Society of Arboriculture, Professional Landscape Network and the University of Georgia, National Recreation and Parks Association and Arizona Department of Agriculture Office of Pest Management. The days he can use those certifications outside of the office are the ones he says he looks most forward to.
“Those are the days I really enjoy,” Gonzales said. “I’d much rather be out in the field doing work than sitting in the office.”

Looking For Ways to Expand Transparency

By Jeff Weninger, Chandler City Council Member

The city of Chandler’s website recently received high honors from the Sunshine Review, a nonprofit organization whose mission surrounds transparency in local and state government. Of the 6,000-plus government websites that were ranked, Chandler was one of only 214 municipalities to receive the coveted A+ ranking (and for the 3rd year in a row).

As part of the ranking, Sunshine Review looks at a number of transparency criteria including information about budgets, public records, taxes, contracts, and public meetings. Since joining the City Council several years ago it has been my goal to maintain and strengthen transparency in government. I believe that our residents should be kept fully informed about decisions being made on their behalf. Fortunately, the city subscribes to the same philosophy.

In an effort to continue to improve, I asked staff to draft procedures to allow for more transparency and look for ways to expand the delivery of information pertaining to fees and other charges imposed by the city. Currently, when there is a proposal to revise a fee or charge associated with licenses, permits, or other items, it is required that a meeting notice be posted at least 24 hours in advance to meet the Arizona Open Meeting Law. However, this does not allow for much public comment. I would like to see that change.

I am proposing a city code amendment regarding the public notification process for setting fees and charges. Currently, certain charges are required to be posted on the city’s website and published in the newspaper, while others are not. It is my recommendation that the city includes other fees and additionally, uses social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to help communicate any proposed changes.

In today’s world, information is readily available through these types of mediums and I think that we should utilize them to enhance our transparency and keep the public apprised of city business that could potentially impact their lives. During a recent subcommittee meeting, several council members met with staff to discuss this issue further and look for other ways to improve our communication with the community.

We discussed expanded notice to the public through our website and social media, in some cases providing up to 60 days advance notice. These proposed changes could result in a greater opportunity to receive public comment on the issues at hand. It was a very productive dialogue.

This proposal will be brought forward at a future council meeting for a vote. But regardless of what happens next, city staff is committed to making it easier for the public to locate information. They will continue to modify the city’s website to make information easily accessible from the home page. And, as information pertaining to changes in fees comes available they also plan to post those updates online. Additionally, they will incorporate other fees that were not previously published and place the fee schedule where it is simpler to find. Essentially, these changes will create a one-stop shop for those seeking this information.

As a result of this discussion one thing is clear; when we provide more information than what is required by law it demonstrates the true spirit of transparency. And that will earn us many more A+ ratings down the road.