Chandler city manager retiring March 4 SanTan Sun News

Chandler city manager retiring March 4

January 21st, 2021 Editorial Staff
Chandler city manager retiring March 4
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By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

Chandler City Manager Marsha Reed has submitted her resignation and is expected to retire from the city’s top job by March 4.
Reed, who was appointed to her position in 2016, gave her notice to City Council this week and said 2021 seemed like the right time to wrap up her 30-year career in public service.
“When you reach a certain age and a certain point, it’s just kind of time to make a decision to retire,” she said.
Reed’s imminent departure means that both top executive jobs in Chandler will need to be filled, since Chandler Unified Superintendent Dr. Camille Casteel plans to retire in June.
Unlike City Council, which has developed a plan to replace Reed, the Chandler Unified Governing Board has yet to give any indication how it will go about finding a new superintendent. The board met in executive session Wednesday to discuss the process.
Reed’s announcement comes in the middle of the city’s budget planning process for the next fiscal year and discussions about how the pandemic might affect the city’s spending power.
Last year, the city scaled back its spending and initiated a hiring freeze as the economy plummeted during the first couple months of the pandemic.
But the city has already begun to recover from the economic setbacks and started to ease some of the restrictions it put in place back in March.
Tax revenues are much better than expected this year, Reed added, and are positioning the city to be in a stable place for the next fiscal year.
Chandler’s revenues in November were 7 percent higher than November 2019 due to a sudden influx in local retail spending. October saw the city’s monthly sales tax revenue increase by nearly 14 percent compared to the same time in 2019.
Despite these positive projections, Reed said she will be taking a “conservative” approach to the budget during the remaining time she will serve as city manager.
She said the city’s finance department should be able to provide helpful guidance to the council as the budget gets closer to being finalized in May.
“It is a team process in Chandler anyway so there’s going to be a lot of people here who already have that knowledge to be able to take the budget forward,” Reed added.
Councilman Matt Orlando said he’s not too worried about Reed stepping down as the city begins working on next year’s budget.
Budgetary discussions have already begun, he said, and the city Finance Department has many capable staff members who can lead the process during the transition.
“We’ll get through this,” Orlando said. “We’re going to press on with our budget issue.”
It wasn’t much of a surprise to Orlando to receive Reed’s resignation, he said, since the city manager has been indicating for the last year she was getting close to retirement.
It will be up to Orlando and the other council members to decide how they want to find Reed’s successor.
Previous councils have traditionally hired a consultant to conduct a nationwide search of suitable candidates and then invite a handful of applicants to be interviewed.
Orlando estimated it may take three or four months to find a suitable replacement for Reed – meaning Council will likely have to appoint an acting city manager until the position can be permanently filled.
“We want to get the right person that’s going to take us through the next four or five years,” the councilman added.
A native of northern Texas, Reed came to Chandler in 2013 after she was hired as an assistant city manager. Three years later, Reed was picked from a pool of nearly 50 applicants to fill the city’s top leadership position after a 10-month search.
During her tenure, Reed said she is proud of the progress Chandler has made with economic development projects, installing new technology and addressing the city’s aging infrastructure.
“I feel very good with what we’ve delivered and the fact that we’ve gone above and beyond my own expectations,” she said.
Navigating the pandemic this last year certainly introduced a set of new challenges for the city, Reed added, but the city’s staff has repeatedly found a way to persevere through.
“It has definitely been a balancing act,” she said. “We work every day to try to stay ahead of the curve and do what we can to serve the residents here in Chandler.”
Councilwoman-elect Christine Ellis said she is disappointed Reed won’t be around for long after she and OD Harris are sworn into office Jan. 14.
“I wish I could have worked with her on some of my initiatives,” Ellis said. “But (Reed) reassured me that she would make sure I get some great guidance and direction on where to go.”
Ellis admired Reed’s commitment to making Chandler a better city and hopes her successor will embody many of her characteristics.
“I thank her for having been such a great leader here and being a strong woman who led our city to a place where we can really fill in the gaps,” Ellis added.

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