May 10, 2006 - Chuck Sweet, Oro Valley's town manager since 1993, announced last week he will resign his position Sept. 1.
Sweet, 57, cited "a personal change in direction" as the primary reason for his resignation. An Oro Valley resident, Sweet said he does not have any plans to leave the town and has not yet lined up another job.
"I'm not planning on leaving the area. At this point, the slate is blank, and I'll be seeing what opportunities walk through the door," Sweet said.
When asked if he was planning on retiring or taking an extended vacation, Sweet responded, "Who knows?"
However, Sweet did indicate that he will be not be looking for another job in municipal government.
"I've been working in local government for about 29 years. Personally and professionally, it's time for me to do something different," Sweet said. "It will be something that complements my experience and education, but it's hard to say exactly what that will be."
In his letter of resignation, Sweet said he was making the announcement nearly four months in advance in order to allow the town to conduct a proper search for his replacement and allow him to complete work on this year's town budget.
Sweet said he was able to accomplish a majority of the major goals he set during his 13-and-a-half years as town manager. Among those, Sweet lists the town's involvement in parks and water service as one of the most significant.
"When I started, the town wasn't in the water business and didn't own any of the water facilities, and now we do. All the golf courses were served with groundwater, and now we have three 18-hole golf courses served by reclaimed water," Sweet said.
Since Sweet began, Oro Valley has built three municipal parks and acquired the land for the proposed Naranja Town Park.
"During these years, we have gone from zero park property to a significant park system, although there is still much work to be done," Sweet said. "My involvement in that area has been at the forefront, bidding for state land when it was available for auction and working on the infrastructures of the bond projects to get the parks built."
Sweet said his successor will have to tackle a number of difficult problems soon after taking over the helm.
"Probably in the first five years they'll be working to physically bring CAP water to Oro Valley. I think that's going to require a lot of expertise, time, and resources to make that happen, and it needs to happen," Sweet said. "The other challenge will be to look at whether this community grows to the north in state land acquisitions, or whether it doesn't."
Sweet also had some advice for the next Oro Valley town manager.
"Listen and make a connection not only with council and staff, but also with the citizens so they understand who is at the chief administrative position and what their philosophies are," Sweet said. "The job is quite demanding, and the time necessary to do the job and also get out in the community and interact with people is fairly consuming, but it's important for the manager to do."
For Sweet, being the town manager of Oro Valley was somewhat taxing but always interesting.
"Any job that takes 55-plus hours a week over many years, no matter what the job is or who the person is, it will affect you. But everyday was different, and there's always something interesting around the corner," Sweet said.