Payson's new town manager, Fred Carpenter, reported for duty last Tuesday.
Coming from Wickenburg, he said he was impressed with the community's clean air, spectacular views and abundance of trees.
Although he has only been on the job a week and is still meeting with town personnel, Carpenter said, "the town staff is competent, hard working and looking for direction. And they are willing to take it."
His first impression of the town council is that all the members are very focused on their jobs for the citizens of Payson.
"They need someone to coordinate and facilitate things for them," Carpenter said.
His first day on the job, Glenn Smith, the town's chief financial officer, arranged for him to be on the radio, so he has already heard from the citizens of Payson about what he needs to address.
"Streets are a big issue. And, of course, there are water issues to resolve," he said.
Another immediate challenge Carpenter wants to tackle is to build bridges between what he called "hostile factions."
He said the people he has met so far have all been nice to him and have not made any demands yet. Carpenter said he will have an open door policy for the public whenever he is available. In the immediate future though, his calendar is full of meetings with staff and others he will be working with as the town's top administrator.
Carpenter is an Arizona native, graduating from Phoenix Union High School. He has been in government work since 1975, with all of it spent in Arizona, except for three years when he worked in Kansas.
Outside of his government work, Carpenter said he is an avid record collector.
His taste in music is very esoteric and eclectic, he said. He likes most music, but is not a fan of classical.
Carpenter is such a fan of music he was even a part-time disc jockey in Wickenburg, with his own radio show. He said the show is something he thinks he will continue, even though it will mean commuting.
Carpenter and his family are leasing a home here until the place they own in Wickenburg sells.
He has already joined the Payson Athletic Club and said he hopes the Lions Club will take him in, he just finished a term as president of the Wickenburg Lions Club.
Carpenter said he also plans to volunteer at community events, so there will be plenty of opportunities for the public to meet and become acquainted with him.