The Oro Valley Town Council hired Jerene Watson as its town manager on July 21, after she served more than 10 months as interim manager.
Watson was first asked to step up as interim leader after the Sept. 23 ouster of manager David Andrews. She has worked for the town since January 2007, when she was hired as assistant manager.
The council had initially intended to hire an outside firm to conduct a national search to fill the manager's position. That was taken off the table with approval of the fiscal 2011 budget in June.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Watson on Aug. 12.
What's your vision for Oro Valley?
"I'm strong believer in full communication. Part of my role is to facilitate that good government is happening right here."
Watson said she hopes to get town employees engaged while executing the policy plans of the new town council. "My role is to help those two blend together nicely."
What goals do you have?
"Understanding the voice of the council, the desires in the community and the needs of the employees."
She stressed that the town's employees want to work with the council to accomplish its goals.
"That's the goal of the employees — that we listen and understand what the council wants to accomplish."
Watson said the biggest concern the current council majority has articulated is the need for continuous economic development.
"I think that's the most over-arching things among this council."
Has the change in council make up affected your job or mission?
"Probably yes. We have five new council members. They are new to what this is all about …They're going to put their own unique stamp on what they want a manager to do."
Has there been any movement on the plan to annex Arroyo Grande, state trust land north of Oro Valley?
"We are meeting with state land (department) commissioners next week. We're going to let her (Arizona State Land Commissioner Maria Baier) know we're still very interested in the pre-annexation development agreement … We haven't let that die."
What does Oro Valley's revenue situation look like?
"Receipts are down in July, overall. (By roughly 10 percent, compared to July 2009.) Right now we just have to be very cautious."
Watson said everything planned for the current budget year is paid for.
Has the town considered any possibilities for new revenue?
"The council really hasn't gotten there yet … I imagine that discussion will be ahead of us this fall."
Married: 38 years
Children: Two (22, 28)
Education: B.A. business administration, University of Southern Mississippi; M.A. public administration, Old Dominion University
Work: U.S. Senate Commerce Committee; Omaha City Council; City of Phoenix; City of Goodyear
Compensation: $155,648 annually; $14,000 deferred compensation put into a retirement savings account; $1,832 annual vehicle stipend