Mayor’s ‘right-hand man’ retires after 25 years - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Mayor’s ‘right-hand man’ retires after 25 years

August 20th, 2018 development
Mayor’s ‘right-hand man’ retires after 25 years

By COLLEEN SPARKS, Managing Editor

The City of Chandler is looking for someone to replace a 25-year employee who spent about the last dozen years as Mayor Jay Tibshraeny’s right-hand man.

Dave Bigos retired earlier this month from his position as mayor and City Council assistant, which he had held for about 12 years.

Bigos, 55, who started working for the city as a public information officer now runs his own writing company, The Wired Wordsmith, through which he is writing scripts, marketing materials, grant and award applications and other materials.

“It’s what I love to do,” he said. “It’s something I can do on my own time and really can do it from anywhere. I’ve made some incredible friends here over the last 25 years and everybody’s just so committed to making sure the city moves forward.”

Bigos, a Chandler resident, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University in 1988 and worked as a reporter and editor for Independent Newspapers until joining the city staff in 1993.

In his latest role, he worked mostly in constituent relations, helping people who approached the mayor and City Council with problems.

Bigos also helped prepare Tibshraeny for City Council meetings, collaborating with him on speeches, columns and Health Connect, an initiative where residents in Chandler who do not have health insurance can get major discounts on prescription medicine.

Bigos said one of his “bigger accomplishments’ was taking charge of Chandler’s application to become an All-America City, an award given to Chandler in 2010.

The distinction is given to 10 communities every year that are considered the best in American civic innovation. Bigos said the extensive application process was “pretty crazy” and included producing a skit/presentation.

The end result was worth the hard work.

“That was a very special moment for me,” Bigos said. “It shows you’re a very well-run city. You’re very well-rounded in terms of how you care about all segments of the community, how your city team works together. It actually means something to employers who are looking to move here.”

Bigos said he worked with great staff members who contributed “to the success” of the mayor and council.

When he first began working for the city as a public relations officer, the city did not even have a communications department. One of his first tasks was coding the city’s first web page.

“I didn’t realize at the time how big it would become,” he said of the city’s website. “It’s pretty cool. We’ve come a long way in terms of our finances and just how well run we are and triple A bond ratings from all three agencies, just to see the way they’ve created their really solid fiscal policies over the last two to three decades and stuck to it.

“It’s a great community, the amenities, the services. It’s a good bang-for-the-buck in terms of taxes and utilities.”

Bigos was born in the Chicago area but moved to the Valley when he was 11 and later graduated from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

After graduating from ASU, he started his work at Independent Newspapers as a reporter and then became editor of the newspaper that covered Chandler at the time.

“I saw it was a growing city and a position opened up,” Bigos said.

Tibshraeny praised Bigos and said his journalism experience made him an asset to the city.

“Dave was really good to work with,” Tibshraeny said. “He was my key staff person both times I was mayor. He’s been really instrumental in my success and also the city’s success. He’s very professional and he’s very talented. He’s a very, very good writer and that’s a skill that’s not being developed today.”

“One of my key parts since I’ve been on the Council has been my constituent work,” the mayor added. “Dave was one of my key guys on my constituent work. I always felt really good when I handed something off to him that it was being taken care of; they would at least have had their issue addressed and discussed.”

He said Bigos will be doing contract work for the city, helping him with speeches and constituent work until he finishes his term as mayor in January.

“Dave’s got a good personality, good temperament and he’s good working with citizens,” Tibshraeny said. “He doesn’t get his hair on fire. We just address the issues and get them taken care of. He’s just been very multitalented and I think obviously been involved with Chandler and a key part of Chandler’s development.”

Former Chandler City Councilwoman Nora Ellen also spoke highly of Bigos. She worked with him for five and a half years before she resigned to run for the Legislative District 17 House seat.

Ellen said Bigos was “always helpful” and “always knowledgeable of anything I needed to find out about.”

“He was so reliable,” she said. “He really ran our Council office needs very well. He’s the kind of person that you love to have work for your organization because you just don’t have to check up on him; you don’t have to micromanage him. He did a great job writing the mayor’s speeches. He’s an excellent writer.”

Ellen said Bigos also wrote emails that were “informative” and “diplomatic.”

“When there was a fire, he knew really well how to address it,” she said.

Ellen added Bigos also had a great, “dry sense of humor.”

“He was a really great right-hand man for the mayor,” she said. “He will be missed. I plan on using his wordsmithing services.”