Blog Posts Tagged ‘town’

Municipal Clerks Week

This week is the 47th Annual Municipal Clerks Week!

Municipal Clerks Week is a week-long event aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of municipal clerks and the vital services they provide for local government and the community.

City or town clerks have a variety of functions, including preparing agendas, taking minutes, maintaining ordinance and resolution files, keeping the city or town’s historical records, and processing permits. In addition to keeping records and maintaining the city’s documents, a clerk is responsible for administering local elections.

Municipal and Deputy Clerks’ main function is to serve as the council’s foundation. Other duties include, but are not limited to, preparing agendas, taking minutes, maintaining ordinance and resolutions files, keeping the municipality’s historical records, processing permits and serving as the clearinghouse for information about the local government. They also record the actions of the various commissions and committees appointed by the council. Many serve as financial officers or treasurers, and in small municipalities, may act as chief administrative officers. Another important responsibility is administering part or all of the local election functions.

Thank you, Arizona city and town clerks, for all that you do. You are some of the many reasons why Arizona Cities and Towns work!

Lee Cox

Airport Customer Service Technician
Town of Wickenburg

Lee Cox - Wickenburg

A small-town Kentucky boy, Lee Cox traveled the world and landed at the airport in Arizona’s Wild West. Lee Cox was raised on a farm in Kentucky. At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a parachute infantryman and served in combat deployments during Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. After leaving the military, he worked in construction and as a gunsmith, later re-enlisting in the Army reserve as an aircraft structural repairman. He also worked as a cable splicer, apprentice electric lineman, certified back country guide, appliance repairman and guest ranch maintenance worker/wrangler, which is what eventually led him to Wickenburg. Landing in the Town of Wickenburg, Cox began as a communication specialist in 2006 with the Wickenburg Police Department. He also worked as a reserve officer and once he graduated from the police academy, was offered a position as a full-time officer. He served five years as a full-time officer, three as the department’s K-9 handler. Lee Cox - Wickenburg 2 Unfortunately, medical issues prevented Cox from continuing his position as a full-time police officer, which led him to apply for a position as the Wickenburg airport customer service technician. As the airport customer service technician, Cox gets to experience a variety of tasks on a daily basis. Encompassing several areas, Cox is responsible for facility and equipment maintenance, fueling aircraft, answering questions and assisting visitors with their travels to Wickenburg. He says that the best part of his job is getting to meet a diverse array of people from all over the country and world, not unlike many of the jobs he has held in the past. It’s clear that visitors enjoy meeting Cox and learning how a small-town Kentucky boy came to live in the small-town southwest. “I have been asked many times how I ended up in Wickenburg, as my accent gives it away that I’m not from here. I reply that it’s a long story,” says Cox. “Although I have traveled the country and world over the years, seen and done many things, I sometimes wonder how a small-town farm boy from Kentucky found his way to a small town in the desert of Arizona. It’s been a long road that led me here, but I can say without a doubt I am proud to now call Wickenburg my home.”

Jenny Howard

Utilities Director
City of Safford


The City of Safford, settled at the base of Mount Graham in rural southeastern Arizona, is a very unique municipality.  Safford is the sole owner of all utilities; water, wastewater, gas and electric. Jenny Howard has have been employed with the City of Safford for 11 years.  In the spring of 2015 she accepted the position of utility director, managing all Safford utilities as well as wastewater treatment, landfill and solid waste services.

With a 23-year background in electric infrastructure projects in western and central a US and 12 years in project management and controls, she feels right at home in the industry.  Howard came to the City of Safford in 2004 from POWER Engineers, a world- renowned electrical engineering firm based in Idaho. She relocated temporarily to Safford from Sun Valley, Idaho for a job assignment in construction management on a large high voltage transmission line and substation project for Phelps Dodge Mining (Now Freeport McMorran).

Well, during her tenure with Phelps Dodge, she met and fell in love with a cotton farmer and they were married in 2004.

“It’s kind of funny that happened,” says Howard. “The first agricultural crop I saw when driving to Safford was a cotton field and I laughed out loud asking myself, ‘They grow cotton in Arizona?'”

After her contract was complete at the mine, she was hired by the City of Safford in procurement. Once on board with Safford she continued to develop knowledge in infrastructure operations and regulations in the wastewater, water and gas industries while attending the college of business at Eastern Arizona College.  In 2007 she moved to a project management position and in 2015 became utility director. Howard loves the diversity of managing the utilities.  As with all utilities, the challenges of replacing aging infrastructure, planning expansion with new development, and keeping the lights on and water flowing, means a well-managed maintenance program and a very detailed and well planned 5-year CIP.  That is a challenge in itself (x 6).  The city water infrastructure consists of 8,000 services and 250 miles of water pipe and serves not only the City of Safford but also the surrounding communities and unincorporated areas of Graham County.  Safford also serves 4,000 electric and 3,500 gas, sewer and solid waste customers within the Safford city limits, as well as owns and operates the landfill which serves all Graham County population of 30,000.

Along with the daily challenges of providing multiple utility services to our customers, Howard loves Safford’s diverse community and the networking associated with the director position.

“Getting involved in community outreach and working alongside such a great team of Managers and employees is certainly an attribute to the overall success of the Utility Department.  I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Nicole Laurin-Walker

Town of Gilbert

Copyright - Arizona Republic, 2012. Michael Chow, photographer. Used with permission. Permission does not imply endorsement.

Copyright – Arizona Republic, 2012. Michael Chow, photographer. Used with permission. Permission does not imply endorsement.

Gilbert Judge Nicole Laurin-Walker is a legal rock star.

Growing up just outside of Chicago, Nicole Laurin-Walker was a serious student of classical piano and competed regionally. Her studious manner led her to attend the University of Michigan where she received a degree in psychology and later the University of Arizona College of Law where she received her law degree. It was there in Tucson that she received her first taste of courtroom experience as an oral argument contest winner at the law school. She also spent time working as a Haitian asylum petition writer during a summer in Miami, a legal intern for Motorola in Phoenix, and an intern at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. After law school, she worked as a bailiff at the Maricopa County Superior Court while she studied for the bar exam.

Her extreme focus led Laurin-Walker to become the Town of Gilbert’s first assistant town prosecutor in 1994. Back then there was only one prosecutor in the office, and she appeared before one judge. Her hiring at the time doubled the size of the prosecutor’s office!

As a prosecutor, she was in the Gilbert Municipal Court every day, appearing before Gilbert’s sole judge, David Phares, handling everything from probation violations to jury trials. After a bit, she moved over the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and prosecuted felonies before returning to Gilbert to write appeals for the Prosecutor’s Office. After her return, Judge Phares decided it was time to add a second judge to the court and Laurin-Walker applied, despite being only 27 at the time. She was offered the job and has held the position ever since.

When a person is accused of committing a misdemeanor in the Town of Gilbert, Judge Laurin-Walker begins her duties. When the individual first appears in court, her job is to make sure they understand the charges they face and the rights they have, appoint them an attorney if they are eligible, listen to the victim’s concerns, and then set some release conditions to make sure the accused person will appear at future court dates. If a person pleads not guilty, she will set the case for trial, making decisions before the trial about what evidence should be allowed and what should be kept out. During an actual trial, she questions jurors to make sure they are fair and impartial, decide which rules of law the jurors will be required to follow, and make sure proper procedures are followed by the parties so that the process is fair to both sides. If there is no jury, Judge Laurin-Walker has the authority to decide if the accused is guilty or not guilty and also give a sentencing, should the case require it.

Laurin-Walker likes to hear people’s stories and try to figure out what drives them and what might change their behaviors. Nothing makes her happier than watching a defendant work his way through jail and counseling probations and see him go to college or get a real job at the end of it all.

Gilbert Judge Nicole Laurin-Walker is also a real rock star.

True to her musical roots as a classically-trained pianist, Laurin-Walker continued to be a musician alongside all her schoolwork and lawyering. She now sings and plays keyboards in a rock band called The Love Me Nots. The band tours worldwide and has put out six albums. Laurin-Walker says she has gotten a taste of real rockstar success, despite the restrictions she had due to her work with the town. Her colleagues all support her musical endeavors and strive to maintain their own hidden talents outside of work.

“I love working in a place where everyone seems to be doing something fascinating outside of work hours,” said Laurin-Walker. “It gives us a better perspective overall.”

Marnie Schubert

Director of Communications, Marketing & Recreation
Town of Queen Creek

Marnie Schubert - Queen Creek Marnie Schubert has worked for the Town of Queen Creek for eight years, starting as communications manager and changing roles several times throughout the years. She currently serves as the director of communications, marketing and recreation. Her degree is in radio-television communications from the University of Central Florida.

Marnie came to QC from the community of Celebration, FL, “the town that Disney built,”where she created the communications department. Her duties there included overseeing the community website, which included a resident “forum”section –an early predecessor to social media. Her experiences in Celebration have served her well, especially since communication resources shifted dramatically during the Great Recession. Gone are the days of printed newsletters, direct mail and reporters assigned to cover specific cities. She says that while she learned a lot during that era,  she continues to find excitement in digital news, tweeting with reporters who cover a variety of communities, and interacting 24/7 with residents on social media.

“Communications is an industry that is always in motion, which is why it appeals to me”says Schubert. “The strategy that works today likely won’t work this time next year. This is a great time to work in government communications because social media has leveled the playing field. Small communities can be just as visible — and have a voice arguably just as strong — as big cities thanks to Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms. It’s all about engagement.”

Having grown up as a military brat (Go Navy!), Marnie had the advantage of moving every year or so and getting to know people all over the world. You quickly learn how to make friends and recognize consistencies in human nature, while learning to appreciate the fun quirks that make us all unique. She says that likely channeled her toward the communications industry: growing up around a diverse range of people in many different types of communities, mainly working toward the same positive goals.

Yvonne Kimball

Town Manager
Town of Dewey Humboldt

Yvonne Kimball

Born and raised in Tianjin, China, Yvonne Kimball saw first-hand what life was like without democracy, as she grew up during the latter part of Chairman Mao’s dictatorship era. From an early age, she was exposed to the Mao regime’s altered version of communism.

“There was no democracy. People were  – and still are – afraid of speaking the truth,” Kimball said.

When Kimball was a teenager, she got her hands on a banned book of great speeches from the Western Word. In it was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He spoke of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

“I was stunned but deeply inspired by the concept and wanted to become a part of such a noble institution one day.”

In 2003, she immigrated to the United States and enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s Master of Public Administration program. Her graduate studies equipped her with skills and knowledge covering a broad range of topics and disciplines relevant to working in and managing the public sector. She knew she wanted to become a public servant.

Because of her international background, Yvonne initially wanted to work in the federal government and had her sights set on the Department of State. While in graduate school, however, a few internships led her to positions within Florida county governments and it was there that Yvonne realized her enjoyment for working with people at the local government level.

“Local governments are much closer to the citizens than the federal government,” said Kimball. “I knew I would have a better chance to make a difference by working for local governments.”

In 2008, a few years after graduation from the MPA program, Kimball received a city manager job in Florida. As her family had always been drawn to Arizona’s beauty, Kimball found a position as the town manager of Dewey-Humboldt. Since her appointment in 2011, Kimball has now served as the town’s longest-tenured manager.

As one of Arizona’s newest incorporated municipalities, Dewey-Humboldt appointed Kimball to continue to build the organization and establish procedures from scratch. Because of the town’s youth, Kimball spends much of her time moving the town forward, overseeing the day-to-day operations and implementing the town council’s directives.

“On top of that, just like most managers for small towns, I wear many other hats,” said Kimball. “I am the town’s zoning administrator, the human resources director, the chief finance officer, the public information officer, and sometimes the receptionist!”

In addition to her role as a town manager, Yvonne is a board member for the Arizona City/County Management Association. She credits the organization to helping her learn from other managers and colleagues in the state who also manage city and town governments.

In her spare time, Kimball spends much of her time whipping up home-baked goodies for her young sons. Before coming to the United States, she had never used or even seen an oven. Once she learned its capabilities, she started baking desserts almost every weekend for recreation and still takes satisfaction in her boys enjoying her concoctions.

Kimball now feels like she is finally home in Arizona. She positively touches the lives of those in her community daily and in that aspect, finds working for a city the most rewarding job one can find.

“In retrospect, I was glad that I embraced the opportunities I had and was able to make the most of them. I am making a difference everyday within the community in which I work and live.”

AZ Cities @ Work Spotlight: Jack Young, Gilbert’s Longest-Standing Employee

Blog_Gilbert J1
Arizona’s cities and towns are successful because of the wonderful people who work  to make them so great. The Town of Gilbert is no exception.

Jack Young is the longest-standing employee in the history of the Town of Gilbert. He recently retired after serving the community for more than 39 years. In his time with the town, he served as a police officer, code compliance inspector, building inspector and the wastewater quality inspector.

Jack started with the Gilbert Police Department in 1976 as an officer, which he says to this day was his favorite assignment. He worked his way up the ranks and eventually became a commander in 1998. Jack was even named as the Acting Police Chief for six months in-between a retiring and new police chief.


BLOG_Gilbert J3

After 25 years with the Gilbert Police Department, Jack retired and quickly transitioned into his new role as Gilbert’s Code Compliance Inspector; a position he held for three years. He later transitioned to work as a Building Inspector and after four years ventured on to Gilbert’s Public Works Department as the Wastewater Quality Inspector.

Jack is a prime example of Gilbert’s Vision to provide “Best in Class” service. He has won several awards during his time at the town including Police Officer of the Year (1977), Town Employee of the Year (1998), and the Town’s Pioneer Award for his work on Gilbert’s first Continuous Quality Improvements (CQI) Steering Committee.

Jack is one of many individuals who help Arizona cities & towns work each and every day. Congratulations, Jack!


Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library



Pull out that library card and head on over to your municipal library to check out a book – it’s National Library Week!

National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and has been going on since 1958. The week is set aside each year to celebrate libraries and municipal public libraries are a perfect example of the great support libraries can provide for their communities.

You may remember your public library as just being a place to check out a book or do some research. But that’s no longer the case! Today’s libraries are gathering places to meet with friends and colleagues, attend in-person classes, get information on current technology and learn through a variety of activities. And of course, you can still check out books – both off the physical shelf and straight to your mobile device!


See what your city or town has to offer and check out National Library Week! And if your local library has made an impact on your life, share your story! Maybe your local library has helped your child discover a love for reading or maybe you learned a new hobby through a class offered at your library. Whatever your story, share it by using social media and the hashtag #LibraryMade. More details on the #LibraryMade contest from the American Library Association can be found here.

Here’s a look at some of the ways Arizona’s cities & towns are celebrating:

  • The City of Sierra Vista will be hosting a variety of events to help celebrate the week, starting with a book signing on Saturday, April 11 with travel writer Roger Naylor. The library will also offer events through the week including reading sessions with therapy dogs, a magic and juggling show and a special children’s storytime. For more info, click here.
  • Phoenix Public Libraries will be offering Food For Fines, a fundraiser  that offers residents the opportunity to decrease their library account fines by donating canned food items.

Visit your local city or town library to find out what they’re offering this week in celebration of National Library Week!

Copper Corridor Spotlight: Town of Miami

Like the fighter who keeps getting knocked down but comes back to fight again, Miami has survived for many years the fluctuations of the copper market and a world economy. But with its picturesque cottages clinging to the hillsides and territorial-era buildings in downtown, Miami is seeing what can only be termed a renaissance.

Miami Bridge

Miami Bridge


Antique shops and art galleries have sprung up and if it’s a thirst you’re trying to quench, they now have everything from an old-fashioned soda fountain to more grown up beverages in an old West setting. Mexican food is a favorite, so there’s never a shortage of eating places. And as for those cottages on the hillside…many have been purchased by newcomers who are enchanted by Miami’s small town charm.

Picturesque Mine Café Photo Courtesy Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce

Picturesque Mine Café
Photo Courtesy Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce

The town, while facing many challenges, has a new wastewater plant designed to carry Miami through the coming decades and the town council is committed to meeting the future needs of residents. Bullion Plaza Museum and Cultural Center, located at the west end of town in a former elementary school, is becoming well known throughout the state as a facility for meetings and conferences. Already this year, they have hosted three major groups. As a museum it is top rate, with displays of memorabilia from former Governor Rose Mofford, an extensive mineral and rock collection, and histories of the various ethnic groups that came to work the copper mines.

Miami Central Building

Miami Central Building

Miami is a proud reminder of the endurance and courage that early settlers in the mining camps demonstrated. That “we can do it” spirit survives today in Miami.

Copper Corridor Spotlight: Town of Hayden

The Town of Hayden is a copper mining town located in southeast Gila and Pinal Counties. Originally founded as a company town, it was shaped by patterns of immigration over many generations.  It is rich in history, and the heritage bond of the community is solid.  Hayden celebrated its centennial in 2009. The local Catholic Church celebrated its centennial in 2013.  ASARCO Copper Mine also celebrated 100 years of operation in the community. The ASARCO mine employs workers from all over the state, and this mine contributes millions of dollars to Arizona’s economy.  The ASARCO mine is one of the last two operating smelters in the United States.

Welcome to Hayden

Welcome to Hayden

Hayden Police Department

Hayden Police Department

The Town of Hayden is a warm and welcoming community that attracts individuals to partake in recreational activities. The weather in Hayden is beautiful most of the year, which is ideal for golfing on our nine-hole golf course.  The tree-lined golf course sits off the banks of the Gila River. Around the golf course, you can picnic at one of the ramadas, camp at the RV park, or in the summer, enjoy little league games.

Hayden Golf Course  Photo Courtesy of Gloria Muñoz

Hayden Golf Course
Photo Courtesy of Gloria Muñoz

The Town of Hayden takes great pride in having a full operating senior center. Our senior center provides meals for the elderly in all our local neighboring communities and activities and social events Monday through Friday.  The senior center is also staffed with vehicles to assist in transporting participants from the outlying communities to our location.  The Town of Hayden provides support in continuing the Meals on Wheels program throughout the Copper Corridor.  The town council understands the need to plan for the future and approved a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant to improve the town’s infrastructure.

Hayden Senior Center

Hayden Senior Center

The Town of Hayden is resilient. Its residents continue to practice their heritage and cultural traditions, making it a true Arizona community working to stabilize itself, improve its housing stock and commercial buildings and strive for economic growth and community development.