AZ Management • September 2017

ACMA Dinner at ICMA Annual Conference

Please join ACMA for a dinner during the ICMA Annual Conference in San Antonio!

Monday, October 23
6-8 p.m.

Landry’s Seafood Restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk
512 N. Presa
San Antonio, TX 78205

Click here to register

*Located on the San Antonio Riverwalk, just minutes from the convention center.*

Please note that due to their reservations policy, registrations will NOT be accepted after October 16. Cancellations must also be made by October 16.

Space is limited, so register early!

4th Annual Next Generation Leadership Conference

ACMA and the Alliance for Innovation are excited to announce the fourth Next Generation Leadership Conference on Thursday, November 9 in Scottsdale.

This one day conference offers high-quality, educational and networking opportunities designed specifically for associate members. There will be a keynote speaker, panel discussions with city/county managers, a speed coaching session and networking opportunities.

Registration for the Next Generation Leadership Conference is filling up fast! If you are interested in attending the conference, make sure to register before November 1.

Coaches Needed!

If you are a city, town or county manager and willing to be a speed coach at the event, please e-mail to sign up.

A big thank you to the event planning committee, whose dedication has led to what should be a very successful event!

ACMA Member Profile

Polly Bonnet, Red Mountain Library Branch Coordinator, City of Mesa

  • Where are you originally from?
    I am the proud daughter of a former turkey farmer and grew up on a farm in Havana, Illinois. Fun fact, one of our turkeys was pardoned by President Eisenhower for Thanksgiving…a bit before my time.
  • Why did you decide to pursue a career in local government?
    I was considering a career in libraries and seventeen years ago I became a part-time library clerk at the Main Library in Mesa. I was immediately hooked on public library service. It was an environment that combined my interests and passions: service, people, learning and information, and encouraging others in their pursuits. You also meet very interesting people that make your life more colorful!
  • What do you like most about your job?
    First, still is the people and the positive impact the library can have in a community. I am very fortunate in what I get to do. I am able to plan strategically with our administrative team on ways to meet our community’s needs and continue to find ways to grow and evolve as an organization. I get to mentor staff and other professionals as they gain experience, I have the ability to work with other departments and build relationships highlighting one another and partnering in creative ways and I get to serve our patrons, meeting new people all the time and seeing the real life impact that what we do as organization has on customer’s lives.
  • What areas of local government interest you the most?
    I obviously love the library, naturally and personally I am drawn to the cultural, parks and arts as areas of interest and appreciate the value these services add to communities. As I’ve had the ability to interact and partner with other City departments, my interest in local government as a whole has grown. The planning aspects for development, infrastructure, performance and innovation and citywide projects that touch a variety of people and cross several areas of focus are fascinating to me as well. I guess in short, a bit of everything! As a librarian, I guess wanting to know more goes with the territory. I have much to learn and look for opportunities to do so.
  • As a local government professional, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
    I’m very proud of the services we provide. We have creative and hard-working staff that care deeply about what they do and who we are – it’s so hard to single out a particular accomplishment but I am going to highlight our programming teams, I’m proud of our programs that bring our community together, it’s always rewarding to see. Also, building relationships with other city departments that allow us to champion one another and realize that we are in this together as a team. Several years ago the library began a campaign to reach out to other city staff called MPLheartsCOM (Mesa Public Library loves City of Mesa). We are able to meet people across departments, visit departmental meetings and build those relationships with staff we might not easily encounter otherwise. The reason this was something I am proud of is that the goodwill generated not just from other departments toward us, but our appreciation towards other departments was really priceless. We deeply enjoyed the experience and met the greatest people. We already knew Mesa was an awesome City and organization to work for and be a part of, this helped our staff view ourselves as part of that team and realize that we all have the common goal of being great public servants and being a part of a thriving community.
  • What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
    People over process and relationships matter.

ACMA Harvard Recap

By Gina Montes, Avondale Assistant City Manager, 2017 ACMA Harvard Scholarship Recipient

At various points in my career, I have wondered whether this city thing was the right work for me. Mentors and colleagues/friends (many met through ACMA) who understand and support this profession have been a source of advice and inspiration. It has been a long time since I had any doubt that I am in the right profession. I applied for the scholarship as an opportunity to learn at the Kennedy School, reflect on my experiences and think about my future in local government.

The program work demanded introspection and was more values-oriented than I imagined. We were pointedly asked, “what do you care about enough that you are willing to take a risk for it?” This question was followed by the statement: The constraints on your leadership are mostly self-imposed. We limit ourselves when we fail to take risks. After some reflection, I was reminded that the most significant outcomes and gains for the community came out of actions that were a risk. Of course, it is more possible to take risks when your organization allows for failure.

Another self-imposed leadership limitation is withholding your perspective. We were told to say what is in your head, even if it might offend someone. My natural communication style is to be direct and brutally honest. I have trained myself over the years not to say what is in my head all the time out of a fear of offending. But this advice is congruent with what I value. It is limiting when people avoid rather than hash out important issues. When we hold back and don’t say what we really think, we lose what could be an important perspective. You cannot truly exercise leadership without communicating what you think. Now more than ever, I believe it is our job in local government management to create an environment where people are encouraged to share their honest feedback.

One of the instructors said to focus on what you want to do in your career rather than what you want to be. That requires thinking about what you value most in your work and not about a job title or position. I reflected over when I was most engaged and excited about my work and what those times had in common. It is a different way to think about career when you break it down this way instead of focusing on a job title.

In addition to the outstanding instructors, the people brought different perspectives, personalities and politics to the discussions within and outside the classroom. I enjoyed the people and being in Cambridge. One experience stands out. I completely froze while climbing a ropes course during the Outward Bound trip. I told my teammate, “I’m stuck” who responded, “physically or mentally?” I quickly realized that it was a barrier in my head. That moment has become a metaphor in my career and life. It was one of many enlightening moments during the program. This opportunity was amazing. I am very thankful to the sponsors, ACMA and my city manager David Fitzhugh for removing the financial and work barriers to participation. As always, I am ever grateful to my husband Greg Montes for taking such great care of our three young children, and in so doing, alleviating some of the inevitable mom-guilt for being gone for weeks.

By Bryan Layton, Navajo County Assistant County Manager, 2017 ACMA Harvard Scholarship Recipient

I would like to say thank you to ACMA for their generous support and the opportunity to attend the Harvard Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

Being at Harvard was such a rare experience in that it was absolutely the best professional development experience I’ve ever had, and it was also a fantastic personal development experience. I can honestly say that I’ve thought about or referenced something I learned from Harvard every day—and not just at work.

I had heard from prior participants that the program challenges the way you think and why you think that way, and I saw that was a huge understatement. Harvard puts together a diverse “ecosystem” of participants which lends itself to having tough conversations about perceptions, race, religon, social status, and rule of law. The confrontations and debates in class—which were carefully engineered by our outstanding professors—provided a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate the wide range of perspectives and interests around us. All this is balanced with practical lessons in American history, negotiation, budgeting, and customer design. And singing. Quite a bit of singing.

I also had the opportunity to interact with and learn from people all over the world in our class…and several outstanding public servants from right here in Arizona: Senator Kate Brophy McGee; Yavapai Assistant County Manager Jack Fields; Eastern Arizona Counties Organization Director Pascal Berlioux; and Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall. It is these personal connections and the interactions at the program that have meant the most to me.


Mandela Fellows

It was great to have the Mandela Fellows with us at the ACMA Summer Conference in Marana! Read more about their successful trip from Arizona State University.

Read More

Congratulations to Jimmy Jayne!

Jimmy Jayne is going to be inducted in the Northern Arizona University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Hall of Fame! The Hall of Fame recognized NAU SBS alumni who have made significant contributions to the university, community, or their career. Jimmy has an exceptional career and dedication to public service and is worthy of the honor.


2017 ICMA Local Government Service Awards

Congratulations to Flagstaff City Manager Josh Copley and the other individuals who were recognized as ICMA #LocalGov Heroes!

5 Pieces of Advice for Your Career in Local Government

Check out the latest ICMA blog post from ACMA member and Goodyear Assistant to the City Manager Pam Weir!

2017-18 Nominations and Elections for ICMA Regional Vice Presidents Open

How to Help in Hurricane Harvey Recovery

ACMA Members on the Move

ACMA Member Carla Reece recently transitioned from the city clerk for the City of Litchfield Park to the public safety communications manager for the City of Casa Grande.

Do you have a recent promotion or transition that you would like to announce? This section of the newsletter recognizes members who have recently been promoted or have changed organizations. If you would like your name to be featured in this section of the newsletter, please contact Samantha Womer at 602-258-5786 or email:

Getting Social with ACMA

Follow ACMA on Twitter to receive up-to-date information!

Point your browser here to start connecting with ACMA.

For even more information on cities and towns, follow the League of Arizona Cities and TownsAZ Cities @ Work and ICMA’s Life, Well Run.

ACMA Welcomes New Members

Full Members

Steve Romero

Assistant Town Manager
Town of Marana

Associate Members

Paul Bernardo

Government and Community Partnerships Director
City of Surprise

Caleb Blaschke

Assistant to the City Manager
City of Flagstaff

Ryley Buchanan

Management Intern
City of Phoenix

Briana Decker-Cortinas

Senior Policy Advisor
City of Peoria

Kacie Howard

Management Assistant II
City of Phoenix

Sarah Moratto

Management Intern
City of Phoenix

Kim Musselman

Special Assistant to the County Manager
Coconino County

James Orloski

Management Assistant II
City of Phoenix

Danielle Osborne

Management Analyst
City of Surprise

Paige Peterson

Finance Director
Navajo County

Erika Philpot

Human Resources Director
Coconino County

Jeffrey Robbins

Management Associate II
City of Mesa

Pilar Sinawi

Intergovernmental and Public Affairs Manager
City of Tolleson

Marge Zylla

Government Relations Officer
City of Tempe

ACMA Board of Directors

Mike Townsend

Deputy Manager
Coconino County

Milton Dohoney

Assistant City Manager
City of Phoenix

Teri Bankhead

Director – Associate Representative
Assistant to the Town Manager
Town of Sahuarita

Nicole Lance

Immediate Past President
Deputy City Manager
City of Surprise

Ian McGaughey

Town Manager
Town of Clifton

Steven Turner

Director – Associate Representative
Senior Management Analyst
City of Casa Grande

Shane Dille

Deputy City Manager
City of Flagstaff

Bryant Powell

City Manager
City of Apache Junction

Mike Letcher

Senior Advisor
Life Member

Justin Clifton

City Manager
City of Sedona

Brent Stockwell

Assistant City Manager
City of Scottsdale

Pat McDermott

Senior Advisor
Life Member

Calendar of Events

ICMA Annual Conference

October 22 – 25, 2017
San Antonio, TX

ACMA Reception @ ICMA Annual Conference

Monday, October 23, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
San Antonio, TX

Next Generation Leadership Conference

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Scottsdale, AZ

ACMA 2018 Winter Conference

January 31 – February 2, 2018
Sedona, AZ
Registration opens later this fall!  

See More