Turner: Florence needs stronger leadership

Posted 1/6/23

As a person who grew up in this town and moved away for 25 years and came back, the last several town managers have been outsiders and I know several did not even live in Florence. How can you sell a …

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Turner: Florence needs stronger leadership


As a person who grew up in this town and moved away for 25 years and came back, the last several town managers have been outsiders and I know several did not even live in Florence. How can you sell a town when you won’t live in it?  Our town has died a slow death since the ’90s. 

Our town had its ups and downs, but downtown was full of shops, bars, three grocery stores and restaurants. While I can appreciate that an outsider should have the view and leadership, we have not seen it. There has been little to no job growth and meanwhile Coolidge and Casa Grande are thriving in this area. We have Relators who are selling Florence, not previous town managers. 

We also have had a lot of empty promises during elections. I for one am tired of this and agree we need someone to properly lead our town as mayor and town manager. Our current mayor lacks business experience and at this juncture we should have a full-time mayor and town manager who understand how to run a business and bring business to our little town. 

Also, in researching these (town manager) two candidates -- one whose contract was not renewed after many years and one who was let go -- are they really the best out there for our little town?

Just my humble opinion and maybe it’s time for a change and have someone who grew up here, maybe that person understands and will listen to those of us who want real change and not lip service.

Therefore, I would humbly ask that the town council review Mr. Ruben Montano’s résumé again for this position.

Although he is a lifetime Florence resident, he is also as an administrator with the Arizona Department of Corrections and very experienced in the interactions with the municipalities in which the state correctional facilities are located.  As an administrator of a correctional facility, he was responsible for the development and management of very large budgets, he’s supervised personnel, responsible for human resources, facility management (similar to public works), officers and investigators (similar to city police departments) and was responsible for ensuring the safety and health of those incarcerated. Many of the responsibilities of a correctional administrator are parallel to those of a town manager.

Mr. Montano has also served on the town council for Florence. He also served as a school board member for the Florence Unified School District. His community service to the town of Florence has been invaluable in giving him the experience necessary to fulfill the responsibility of the town manager.

In summary, Mr. Ruben Montano is highly educated, well experienced, and highly committed to this community. It would be a tremendous shame to let someone of his caliber escape. Mr. Montano is committed to this community and is not looking for this position to be a steppingstone to another municipality in search of a more lucrative position.  Thank you so very much for taking the time to review this letter.

Linda Turner

Florence, town manager