More than 21 months have passed since the Coconino County Board of Supervisors appointed me to lead the organization on an interim basis on behalf of our residents, and this month, the organization is in transition.
On July 3, the Board selected Cynthia Seelhammer, a local-government professional with 28 years in public service, as the county’s new manager. Cynthia was welcomed into the organization on Aug. 5 and immediately hit the ground running.
Since joining the county, Cynthia has been busy meeting with the Board, department directors and staff to gain insight into the organization and its many ongoing projects and initiatives.
Leading any organization with a $180 million budget and a staff of more than 1,000 is no easy feat, but our county leaders and I are more than confident that Cynthia is up for the job.
The county values open communication with residents. By meeting with our neighbors and members of the community, we are in a better position to make sound judgments on behalf of our residents.
Remaining connected to our community through community meetings and our many non-profit partner organizations helps keep our county leadership in tune with the needs of our residents. By engaging our residents and business community, county officials are better positioned to make decisions to benefit the greater good.
It’s a virtue also shared by Cynthia, who has previously served as a member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and other local organizations throughout the Phoenix area. Like many of our fellow county officials, Cynthia vows to give the public a voice on key decisions and issues facing the county.
Investing in the communities and residents she serves by helping lead the discussion on important key issues is something she has done throughout her career.
During her four years as a deputy city manager in Phoenix from 2006 to 2010, Cynthia oversaw multiple programs, including Finance, Information Technology and Solid Waste and Water Services. As part of the city’s executive team, she helped to oversee 25 departments, 10 major programs and 14,000 employees. FBN
Before that, Cynthia was town manager of Queen Creek for nearly 13 years. Under her management, the award-winning town grew from 2,000 residents and a budget of $2 million to nearly 20,000 residents and a budget of $180 million.
Most recently, Cynthia served as interim manager for the town of Tusayan and the cities of Maricopa and Globe.
She has a master’s degree in public administration, with an emphasis on urban, state and federal governance, from Golden State University in San Francisco. She also graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.
While it has been a great honor and privilege to serve as the county’s top manager for these past 21 months, I look forward to working with Cynthia. I’m fully confident that she will continue to build on the foundation for successes that we’ve accumulated, with the full support of our dedicated staff.
Her experience will ensure that we are able to continue building on our past accomplishments and turn challenges into opportunities for our citizens. FBN
Mike Townsend is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff and served as Interim County Manager until Aug. 4.