Wickenburg Man Offered Town Manager's Job

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Fred Carpenter of Wickenburg has accepted the Payson Town Council's offer to become the new town manager.

At a special meeting July 23, the council voted to offer Carpenter the job.

He accepted the offer, according to Town Attorney Sam Streichman, but the council must still approve the terms negotiated. Streichman said there will be a special meeting Monday, July 29, on the matter.

Carpenter was one of five finalists for the job out of 137 applicants. The other finalists were Payson's Interim Town Manager L. Kelly Udall; Richard Crayne, Waverly, Iowa; Gary Eide, Mesa; Jeffrey Pederson, Vermillion, S.D.; and Gary Shimun, Hannibal, Mo.

"The decision came down to three of the finalists, Gary Shimun, Kelly Udall and Fred Carpenter. It was not an easy decision for the council. If the negotiations fail with Carpenter, Kelly will be our choice for town manager. We can't pick both, but I think the council would like to pick both," Mayor Ken Murphy said after the selection was announced.

Murphy appointed Councilors Robert Henley and Dick Wolfe, along with Town Attorney Sam Streichman and Director of Finance Glenn Smith to serve as the negotiation team.

According to Carpenter's resume, he has served as the Wickenburg Town Manager since 1998. He has two degrees from Arizona State University, a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering and a masters in public administration.

He started his career with an internship in the town of Guadalupe in 1975, which led to the job of assistant town manager for the community.

Carpenter has also been town manager for Prescott Valley, 1978-1983; Buckeye, 1983-1995; and city administrator for the City of Hesston, Kan., 1995-1998.

Asked for comments on the council's decision, Udall prepared the following written statement for the Roundup.

"I have been raised to believe that you win with grace and lose with dignity. I feel myself fortunate to have served the citizens of Payson for the past seven-and-a-half months as the interim town manager. The experiences and relationships I have developed over this period will stay with me for the rest of my career. I am grateful to the council, staff and residents here in Payson that have supported me during this interim period. I am sure the decision was extremely difficult for the council, whose main concern is for the town and its residents. It is important now that we begin to develop a smooth transition for the new manager as we begin a new chapter for the town of Payson."

In a little more than half a year, working with the town staff, other agencies and individuals, Udall built an impressive list of accomplishments. Among them:

Orchestrated the town's reply to the Forest Service regarding the Tonto Apache Tribe land exchange Environmental Assessment.

Orchestrated support from the council for Payson Airport Land Exchange involving the new congressional approval process;

Administered purchase of land in the Green Valley Redevelopment Area to assist development efforts and engaged in financing it;

Assisted 40-unit low income housing project to be located in Green Valley Redevelopment Area with submission of application to state for funding;

Organized Town Halls on issues such as economic development, financing support for public projects, land use plans and more;

Engaged in water development agreements with local, state and federal agencies;

Is currently involved in economic development endeavors through negotiations with several business prospects in moving their businesses to Payson;

Gained experience involving emergency operations as the Emergency Operations Committee Director for the town during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire as the town operated as an evacuation center for more than 1,200 people.

"I think I have improved the town's communication with the Tonto Apache Tribe and improved the morale of the staff," Udall said.

He said he has not decided on any future plans.

"I still have a job with the town and I plan to do it," Udall said.

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