Guest Commentary

Henninger: City staff behind much of Scottsdale’s special charm

Posted 11/2/22

We talk often about what makes Scottsdale special: the beautiful preserve, the wonderful resorts golf courses, Indian Bend Wash, historic Old Town.

Less fancy but more important to our quality of …

This story requires a subscription for $5.99/month.

Already have an account? Log in to continue.

Current print subscribers can create a free account by clicking here.

Otherwise, click here to subscribe.

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe. The five stories do not include our exclusive content written by our journalists.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, digital subscribers will receive unlimited access to YourValley.net, including exclusive content from our newsroom and access to our Daily Independent e-edition.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor
Guest Commentary

Henninger: City staff behind much of Scottsdale’s special charm

Posted

We talk often about what makes Scottsdale special: the beautiful preserve, the wonderful resorts golf courses, Indian Bend Wash, historic Old Town.

Less fancy but more important to our quality of life in the city is the three-part formula that is the financial foundation behind it all: low taxes (among the lowest in the state); high property values (current homeowners don’t complain about that); and outstanding city services.

The last piece of the formula gets the least attention of all. In fact, it often is taken for granted.

As we near the finish line of another contentious election cycle with one last seat to fill on city council, it’s worth noting that the mayor and council members don’t play a role in the day-to-day operations of the city. Thankfully.

That’s not their job, and frankly, they probably wouldn’t be very good at it.

They provide policy, oversight, direction and vision for the city. That’s what we hired (voted) them to do. They operate like a chair and board of directors in a private company. When they get into the weeds to micro-manage things, results rarely are good.

The service quality we enjoy is based on the hundreds of people who work for the city. The staffers and those who lead the teams.

We’ve had a chance to highlight a handful of them over the past year in our weekly podcasts available on these links.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0PcYXzkY8RerenGCpwYavJ

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/today-and-tomorrow-in-scottsdale/id1560402620

And we’ve been amazed at the quality, dedication and passion they bring to their jobs every day.

So today, we salute them. People like:

  •  Kris Cano, forensic services director, who runs the crime lab for the Scottsdale police department.
  •  Police Chief Jeff Walther, who came out of retirement to run the department and has kept our city safe through some challenging times.
  •  Fire Chief Tom Shannon, one of the finest public servants we’ve ever met.
  •  Gretchen Baumgardner, water policy manager for the city, managing what is becoming our most precious resource.
  •  Gary Mascaro, Scottsdale’s aviation director, who runs one of the nation’s busiest private-plane airports.
  •  Jackie Johnson, diversity director, who oversees initiatives that are becoming increasing important in our polarized society.
  •  Lisa McNeilly, sustainability director, whose mission is to expand on the city’s role as an environmental leader.
  •  Bianca Lochner, chief information officer, leading the city’s ongoing transition into the digital age.
  •  Alison Tymkiw, city engineer, who oversees hundreds of city projects that are either planned or under way.
  •  Brent Stockwell, assistant city manager who among many other duties is leading that effort being the Smart Cities initiative.
  •  Kira Peters, director of the Scottsdale Public Library. You would be amazed at the work she is doing keeping the library relevant and an important city asset.
  •  Rob Millar, economic development director, in charge of recruiting and retaining businesses in the city.
  •  Emily Hinchman, Human Relations Commission and a key player behind the city’s non-discrimination practices.

The culture these leaders and their teams have built and the work ethic they share are why we enjoy outstanding services. And it should be noted that the city’s “CEO,” Jim Thompson, (city manager) is the leading force behind it all.

So vote for who you like for the last seat on council and pay attention to the work the council does going forward. But don’t forget about the achievements these dedicated staffers bring to the city each day. And if you get chance, tell them thanks.

Editor’s Note: Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow — known as SCOTT — is a community organization with a mission to promote, enhance and improve Scottsdale’s quality of life. Don Henninger is on the Independent Newsmedia board of directors. The Independent welcomes all points of view. Email your opinions, pro or con, to AzOpinions@iniusa.org.