[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — David Cavazos has been appointed to succeed City Manager Frank Fairbanks, who is retiring Thursday after nearly 20 years. Cavazos, a deputy city manager who started with Phoenix 22 years ago, discussed some of the changes he would like to make, the city’s financial woes and how he plans to get past a 2006 travel-abuse scandal that still haunts him.
What kinds of changes can we expect at City Hall? We have to look at the very best person for every job, that everything has to be based on merit and credentials and that we’re going to look both internally and externally for support. We (the council and I) talked about innovation. People need to be able to do more with less. They need to not only be willing to change but be a champion for change. They need to adapt to change. One of the things I’ll be focused on is how can we partner with the private sector to do the things that we may not do as well as the private sector. We got to look at outsourcing. We got to work very closely with employees, with our labor groups.
The city closed a record $270 million shortfall earlier this year, largely by eliminating jobs and making cuts to services. Now we hear that this year’s budget gap has widened again by as much as $95 million. How do you fix that? “We need to work very closely with the mayor and council. What are the priorities? Obviously, public safety, neighborhoods, infrastructure, economic development. (We have to ask) what do we absolutely have to do? What services are the most important to the community? The public hearings are very important, talking to people, getting their input and then realizing there will have to be some streamlining. I think you’ll see some of it at the top, probably right here in the City Manager’s Office.
Is it certain there will be layoffs? I believe that we are going to have reductions in staffing. There is no way to get around that. You are going to be able to do some with lease-purchase and hopefully things get better. [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix must do more with less, new city manager says.]