Marana's intergovernmental affairs administrator has left the position to take a similar job with the Tucson Association of Realtors.

Steve Huffman, a former Arizona state legislator, has been with the town for just under two years. His last day was Friday.

"It's a good opportunity for me," said Huffman of his new post. He's been a real estate agent in the past, and comes from a real estate family. In the new job, he'll "coordinate activities for Realtors with local governments" as well as community associations and other organizations.

Huffman describes his time with the town as "very positive.

"I had a lot of history with the town before I started working for them," he said. "I was able to re-establish friendships and relationships with the mayor and council, and folks I've worked with the last two years here."

At nearly every council meeting, Huffman gave a report to the governing board on the latest actions, as well as the rumblings, from Phoenix and the state capital. He almost always was last on the agenda. Often, his news was not good.

"The challenges local governments face in dealing with the Legislature, and the challenges of dealing with the consequences of decisions" in Phoenix, won't diminish, Huffman said Thursday. There have been repeated attempts in the Legislature to take state-shared revenues away from local governments, and he expects those to continue.

"The challenge is to remind the Legislature local government is important, and the services we provide are critical," Huffman said. "It's important that we join together with other communities, and really have a presence up there."

Local government is "the first place people go when they expect public services," Huffman said. "The Legislature needs to recognize that, and not treat us as a secondary priority."

He praised Marana for its work in managing town financial priorities. As the recession built and government funds were threatened, "Marana really got out in front of this. While the decisions were tough, they were not as unmanageable as the problems some of our other communities in the state are facing."

Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said he is "looking at a couple options" to replace Huffman. "We need to have something," Davidson said Thursday.

Technically, Huffman has been registered as a lobbyist for Marana. The town ended its last agreement for contract lobbying services on June 30.

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