Payson Town Council member Ken Murphy is resigning from his job as administrator of Manzanita Manor in October to take a job with a company based out of Scottsdale.
Murphy, who has three years left on his term on the Town Council, says he will remain a council member, will continue to call Payson home and will commute as needed to reach the seven nursing homes and two assisted living centers around the state that he will oversee in his new job.
"The company is called RainTree Healthcare Corp, and they offered me a job as regional director of operations," Murphy said Thursday.
RainTree ranks as one of the 30 largest long-term care operators in the United States, according to the company's Web site, with facilities in six states clustered in the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast. RainTree's healthcare services include both traditional long-term care services and specialized healthcare, such as rehabilitation and respiratory therapy.
"I'll be in charge of the entire Arizona territory," he said. "RainTree has facilities in Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Show Low, Safford, Douglas and Phoenix."
The company is based in Scottsdale, where Murphy will have an office, but says he'll work primarily out of his home office in Payson.
"This was an excellent opportunity to move up with new responsibilities, while still being able to live in Payson," he said.
Double or nothin'
After spending nearly 10 years as the assistant director of nursing at Payson Regional Medical Center, Murphy was hired to manage Manzanita Manor. While there, he continued his studies, and eventually earned a master's degree in business administration.
"I was clinically certified in just about everything a nurse can be certified in," he said. "With an MBA, I understand the business side. It makes a big difference."
During his tenure for more than half a decade at Manzanita Manor, Murphy supervised the care center as it nearly doubled in size.
"We've just built a beautiful addition to our rehab center here," he said. "We've got an excellent rating from the Arizona Department of Health Services. Our surveys have been good. My staff has been consistent, and I'm extremely proud of everyone that works here, and all the work that they do for our residents.
"I'm also extremely proud of the work we've done here, and the reputation that we've earned as one of the top skilled nursing facilities in the state."
Staying a resident
Murphy said he has been offered a lot of jobs over the years but turned them down because he would have had to leave Payson.
Murphy said he and his wife, Nancy, are happy in Payson and have chosen the Rim country as the place they want to raise their two children.
"My mother lives here, my in-laws live here, my children were born here in Payson," he said. "I'm very committed to continuing to be a part of the community."
As for making himself available to his Payson constituents, Murphy said he may even be more accessible. "Working out of my home, I might actually be home more often."
When he's not at home, he said, he's only a phone call away.
"When people call me at Town Hall, they'll get my voice mail," he said. "I've always listed my home number, my cell phone, my pager which reaches all over the state. I've always worked hard to being committed and responsive to what constituents were calling me about."
When asked about rumors of his run for the mayor's office, Murphy said he didn't think his out-of-town job would interfere, "but I've made a personal decision not to run."
Instead, the council member is eyeing the seat of Gila County District 1 Supervisor, the position held for three terms by Ron Christensen.
"I've never had any desire for any higher office than local government," Murphy said. "But I really believe that county is local government also."
Murphy begins his new career with Raintree Oct. 4. To reach him, leave a message at Payson Town Hall, 474-5242, ext. 204.