Make a Run for it! City Government

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

It was another fascinating day for Scottsdale Leadership Class XXVI as we learned about how the city government operates from those that are doing the operating!  From Mayor Jim Lane to City Manager David Richert to Councilmen McCullough, Littlefield and Robbins we were impressed with lots of little details about how our city runs and what makes it tick.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • In our council management form of government there are six charter officers who all work independently but all serve under the direction of the city council.
  • The city council sets the policy and the city manager implements that policy and oversees delivery of services. Along with that, the city manager proposes the budget and the city council reviews and approves it.
  • The state mandates that the city have a general plan that is updated every 10 years. The general plan involves concepts about the character of the community, land use and quality of life. It must be voter approved.

Personally, I most enjoyed our interaction with the councilmen. I was impressed with their knowledge of the issues and their opinions. There is a lot of time and work involved in being fully informed.  They mentioned that council meetings are seen by many more people now that they are available on television (channel 11) and they all get emails from people who want to be heard on certain issues.

They all seemed to feel that because of technology it is easier for residents to be heard by the council. Speaking of technology, seeing the traffic control center was another highlight of the day. It was especially interesting because the Waste Management Phoenix Open was in full swing and traffic in the area was robust. I never had any idea that there were people watching our roads using 60 cameras around town and monitored in a room filled with screens of various intersections.

Of course, we were all encouraged to get involved in city government on some level either by running for office, becoming a member of a commission or working on someone’s campaign. Running for office is a time consuming and expensive undertaking (estimated cost is about $50,000) and I think we were all impressed with the commitment that it requires. If nothing else, this day enhanced my understanding that there are ways I can participate in our city government that I never considered.

What do you do to participate in making our city the best possible place to live, work and play?

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