Gila County Sees Leadership Changes In Many Departments

Gila County Building in Payson

Photo by Andy Towle. |

Gila County Building in Payson


A few months ago, Gila County saw some big changes among its elected officials. Now changes are happening in the leadership of several county departments.

The resignations of three department heads were announced by County Manager Don McDaniel at the regular meeting of the board of supervisors Tuesday, March 19. He also announced the appointment to a permanent position held by an interim for several months and the shift of one department head into the vacancy created by one of the resignations.

Resignations announced included Finance Director Joe Heatherly, leaving after three years for a position in the private sector in western Arizona; Human Resources Director Berthan DeNero, leaving after five years for Pinal County; and IT Director Darryl Griffin, leaving after five years to go into private business.

Malissa Buzan has been named as director of the county’s community services division. “Malissa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position as well as a real passion for the clients that this division serves,” said McDaniel.

Buzan has worked for the Community Services Department for 20 years, and has been acting director for the past four months.

Linda Eastlick has been named human resources director.

“Linda has vast experience in HR, and has been a valuable member of the Management Team in her role as Elections Director,” McDaniel said.

With regard to the two remaining vacancies, McDaniel has contacted an agency that specializes in providing government entities with highly qualified interim staff to assist with the functions and operations.

“Thankfully, all of these departments have highly qualified, excellent staff that are capable and knowledgeable, so the day-to-day operations will continue to function effectively in each of these affected areas. I am confident that the staff will step up and carry these departments forward during this time of change. We will be able to continue to operate in good order without missing a beat,” McDaniel said. He added that the departments are small and the directors do hands-on work, something that will also be expected of the interim staff to be hired.

Other business

The supervisors approved the Gila County Sheriff’s Office requests to submit two grants to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. One, for $43,000, will help the GCSO Payson Sub-Station move its radio operations from a space near the facility’s boiler room to a separate structure, creating a more secure and efficient workplace for critical communications.

“We have worked for years to get good communication (for the sheriff’s office) border to border in Gila County and I’m glad to see we are still working on this,” said Tommie Martin, District 1 Supervisor.

The second grant request to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security is for $35,295 to help secure the latest in standard equipment for the safety and health GCSO dive team.

The supervisors also approved a request from the Division of Community Services to award a $72,000 contract to Rodriguez Construction, Inc., to do a weatherization and housing rehabilitation project on a single-family home in Miami near the old Inspiration Grade School. This is an area where several homes have been improved through Community Services in the last few years.

Northern Gila County’s Payson Concrete and Materials was awarded a bid, not to exceed $200,000, for chips, asphalt and other road maintenance materials. While bids for the same material were sought for Southern Gila County, there was some missing information, so it will be re-bid, according to finance director Joe Heatherly.

The supervisors approved a resolution for the San Carlos Apache Tribe designating parts of its reservation within Gila County a “Colonia” because of the lack of potable water, inadequate waste water disposal systems and decent, safe and sanitary housing. The designation allows the county to use state and federal funds to improve and housing conditions on the reservation.

The supervisors also approved a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Army to provide an opportunity for qualified veterans to apply for open positions with Gila County.


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