The Marana Town Council chose Deputy Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta to serve as interim town manager, taking over for Gilbert Davidson, who leaves on Nov. 18 for his new position as Chief Operating Officer in Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.
Marana has many “irons in the fire,” Mehta said in an interview with Tucson Local Media after the announcement. “We are truly a business-friendly organization.”
Mehta said he’s ready for the challenge to maintain what Davidson has achieved in his nine years as manager and to meet the expectations of the council and community. Marana has a special role to play as being one of the fastest-growth regions, and he’s going to make sure public- and private-sector projects continue without a hitch, ensuring Marana’s “competitive edge is there and maintained,” he said.
The council announced the decision at a special Monday-morning council meeting, after discussing the matter for an hour-and-a-half in executive session.
The town will begin an application process, and everyone is welcome to apply, including Mehta and Assistant Town Manager Stephen Romero, said Mayor Ed Honea, adding they’ve had little time to think about the long-term position, considering Davidson only announced the other job offer three weeks ago.
“The town wants a little more time to come up with the parameters for what we want for a manager,” Honea said. “We’re not going to be hasty. We feel we have tremendous leadership in place.”
Mehta said he is interested in the position as a permanent one.
Davidson said Mehta is a good choice for interim manager, and the transition process has already started and should be a smooth one.
The town council also officially, but with regret, accepted Davidson’s resignation at Monday’s meeting. Although councilmember Patti Comerford voted against accepting it, as a joke.
Davidson’s current salary is $200,000, up from $148,000 when he took up his post in 2008. His salary at the Office of the Arizona Governor will continue at $200,000.
Mehta served as Marana Deputy Town Manager since 2014. He previously served as interim assistant city manager for Glendale, Arizona. He has degrees in civil engineering and urban planning from the University of Kansas.
“It’s an honor that they’ve chosen me,” Mehta said. “I wasn’t expecting to take the lead because we’ve always held Gilbert in the highest regard.”