Five finalists have been selected for the City Council vacancy after Councilman Peter Mahoney resigned last month.
The five finalists are Lynn Bennett, Ron Clair, Brian Dalke, Brian Dursteler and Michael Grjegian.
The five candidates will be interviewed during the public City Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 19 in the conference room at City Hall. After interviews, the six existing members of Council are scheduled to discuss the candidates in a secret meeting before returning to the public meeting to appoint a candidate and have the candidate take the oath of office.
The term for the vacant seat expires in January 2021, and an election for the seat will be held next fall.
Two candidates who submitted applications for the vacancy — Kerry Giangobbe and Cassondra Garcia — will not be interviewed or considered for the position by the current council members. The city clerk’s notes of the Council meeting in which the decision was made did not list a reason for these candidates not being considered.
Mr. Dalke almost 24 years in local government to the table. He served Goodyear as its city manager, deputy city manager and director of economic development. Most recently he served as interim city manager of Paradise Valley. He’s also been a part-time professor at Estrella Mountain Community College and worked at the Salt River Project. He has also participated in the Goodyear/Litchfield Park Citizen Academy. Mr. Dalke has lived in Litchfield Park for two years.
“I have a comprehensive knowledge of local government and respect its vital role in serving citizens and the community,” Mr. Dalke wrote on his candidate application. “My experience in economic development can assist in the advancement of City Center. My work at Paradise Valley with high-end resort owners/general managers may be an asset.”
Mr. Dalke graduated Cum Laude from Ottawa University with a B.A. in Business Administration and has multiple certificates in economic development.
He listed Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner and Michael Faith, who sits on Litchfield Park’s Planning & Zoning Commission and Industrial Development Authority Board as his references. He also noted that he’s worked with Mayor Tom Schoaf and others on Council during his time working for Goodyear.
Mr. Dursteler has worked as the chief of staff, Emergency Department medical director and an Emergency Department physician at the Abrazo West Campus hospital in Goodyear and the Abrazo Buckeye Emergency Center. He is a former flight commander at Luke Air Force Base and the chief of aerospace medicine of the 161st Medical Group, where he was responsible for the health of more than 700 personnel. He and his wife also own the Déjà Vu Medspa in Goodyear, managing 13 employees. Mr. Dursteler has lived in Litchfield Park for nearly four years.
“As a member of the military, I feel that I can represent those who have served and continue to serve our country,” Mr. Dursteler wrote in his application. “My wife and I, as small business owners, understand the challenges of growth, employee engagement and financial challenges that face our local businesses and our citizens. As a parent, I want the best environment for our city.”
Mr. Dursteler listed Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf and Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord among his references. He said he’d interacted with Mr. Schoaf through Mr. Schoaf’s role on the Abrazo West Campus board of directors.
Ms. Bennet has been a real estate agent for 15 years and served as Litchfield Park’s deputy city clerk for four years. She has served on staff for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for three years and was a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve for 17 years.
Ms. Bennett has lived in Litchfield Park for nearly nine years.
“I am a real estate agent and know how municipal government works,” Ms. Bennett wrote in her application. “…I can provide constructive input to the city for solutions on city issues. I want to see the city continue to enhance the quality of life and assist with determining needs by providing representation of citizens for the growth issues facing the city and making informed, educated decisions for creating a sustainable city.”
Ms. Bennett also noted that she sat through and took notes of many meetings during her four years as deputy city clerk, learning how the city government works. She said her work as a real estate agent has familiarized her with local and county zoning laws.
She has a B.S. is Business Management from Park University in Gilbert.
Mr. Clair is a businessman who has owned six All My Sons Moving companies across the country, managing hundreds of employees. He has also served as the vice chairman of the Southwest Movers Association and currently serves on Litchfield Park’s Recreation and Public Grounds Commission. Mr. Clair’s application says he’s helped build multiple businesses, including a chain of restaurants. He has also participated in the Goodyear/Litchfield Park Citizen Academy. Mr. Clair has lived in Litchfield Park for three and a half years.
“I think the most important issue facing our city is how we develop responsible, smart growth, especially the City Center Project,” Mr. Clair wrote in his application. “With my business background and desire to see Litchfield Park maintain its uniqueness, I feel that I can bridge the past that gives us our charm, as well as welcome our newer residents.”
Mr. Clair listed Brig. Gen. Todd D. Canterbury of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base among his references.
Mr. Grjegian is the president and CEO of Out Of The Park Marketing and served on the board of directors and executive board of directors of the West Valley Mavericks Foundation. He’s lived in Litchfield Park for nine years.
“Having been a West Valley resident for over 32 years, I have seen the change in our community,” Mr. Grjegian wrote in his application. “I have lived/visited other communities and can provide insight for discussion on any/all topics. I have been tirelessly involved with the West Valley Mavericks Foundation since the beginning, thus providing details of our community and neighborhoods to possibly assist the mission… I can provide different perspectives on issues for conversation as they arise, how other cities have succeeded/failed, and then strategize a solution that would work best for that challenge.”
Mr. Grjegian listed Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf and assistant city manager Sonny Culbreth among his references, along with the current and former president of the West Valley Mavericks Foundation. Mr. Grjegian graduated from Arizona State University.