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Cottonwood, Arizona

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City Manager – Cottonwood, Arizona


The Position

Cottonwood’s next City Manager will have the opportunity to lead a team of talented staff in one of Arizona’s finest communities. Situated near several national forests and state parks in the scenic Verde Valley, Cottonwood provides residents with a truly superb quality of life.

Appointed by the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager serves as the chief administrative officer and is responsible for the oversight of the City’s daily operations. The City Manager works collaboratively with key staff members to implement policies set forth by the City Council and provides organizational leadership for department directors and employees. City operations include the following departments: Administration, Airport, Community Development, Cottonwood Area Transit, Economic Development, Finance, Fire, Human Resources, Information Technology, Library, Parks and Recreation, Police, Public Works, Purchasing, and Utilities.

The City Manager has 11 direct reports including the Deputy City Manager, Community Development Director, Natural Resources Administrator, Economic Development Director, Fire Chief, Police Chief, Community Services General Manager, Airport and Special Projects Director, Public Works Director, Utilities Director, and the Assistant to the City Manager. The previous City Manager is retiring after eleven years of service.

The Organization

The City of Cottonwood was incorporated in 1960 and operates under the council-manager form of government. Cottonwood’s City Council serves as the community’s governing body, providing policy direction through the appointment of a City Manager and enacting ordinances and policies to protect citizens’ rights. The City Manager is responsible for the general administrative operations of the various departments within the City.

The Council consists of the Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and five councilors. All members of the City Council, including the Mayor, are directly elected to serve staggered four-year terms. The Vice-Mayor is internally selected by the City Council and serves at the pleasure of the governing body.

The City of Cottonwood is mandated by the State of Arizona to provide a variety of services including law enforcement and other public safety needs. Other support services include road maintenance, park services, regulation of building and zoning codes, animal control, and a public library. City utilities include a water distribution system, sewer system, cemetery, and municipal airport.

Cottonwood employs 209 full-time employees and the City’s proposed FY2019 budget is $69,528,685.

Mission Statement

Inspiring a vibrant community

Vision Statement

  • The City of Cottonwood strives to maintain a uniquely desirable and sustainable community.
  • We are unique because of our people, our grand natural resources, public amenities, leadership, diversity, and home town atmosphere.
  • We will continue to conserve, preserve, and manage our precious resources, including the Verde River and its unique riparian habitat.
  • We will enhance our position as the economic center for the Verde Valley, providing retail, medical, education, transportation, recreation, and tourism.
  • The City of Cottonwood provides leadership and solutions to ensure a prosperous community where a diversity of people and nature thrive.

Council Strategic Directives

  1. Community engagement
  2. Promote a vibrant, healthy, and educated community
  3. Marketing Cottonwood
  4. Manage future growth
  5. Develop, support, and maintain infrastructure

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Cottonwood’s next City Manager is an experienced and knowledgeable local government professional with a collaborative management style and strong communication skills. The ideal candidate is politically astute, assertive, and has demonstrated success in improving community outreach and fostering relationships with intergovernmental partners.

The successful candidate will have strong organizational leadership skills, can create an environment of trust, and is skilled in implementing organizational and cultural change. He or she is knowledgeable in developing and employing performance measures and department workplans, as well as modeling consistent and fair behavior, and holding staff accountable.

The next City Manager is a relationship builder who can effectively engage with a variety of audiences including residents, business owners, community groups, and City staff. The ideal candidate is an individual who develops strong relationships with his or her peers throughout the Verde Valley and is approachable and visible throughout the community, region, and organization.

The successful individual will work to identify proactive financial strategies, ensure continued growth within the City, and advise the Council on issues of importance. The City Manager will be positive and focused on solving problems creatively and will demonstrate exceptional decision-making skills.

This person will fully appreciate the community’s history and small-town appeal and will have the ability to lead the organization and advise the Council on how to balance its identity and future growth. The ideal candidate is highly-motivated and fully invested in Cottonwood’s continued success.

Experience and Education

Requirements for this position are a bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science, business management, finance or a closely related field and at least five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in a local government or an equivalent position in an organization of comparable complexity.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in public administration or related field, ICMA-Credentialed Manager designation, strong financial management and budgeting skills, and a track record of success in economic development, business and civic engagement, and intergovernmental relations.

The Community

Cottonwood, the “Heart of Arizona Wine Country,” is a captivating and diverse community that offers the amenities of a large city and the inclusivity and appeal of a small town. The City is situated in central Arizona and is the retail and services center for the picturesque Verde Valley. The community was established in 1879 as the Town of Cottonwood and incorporated in 1960. Cottonwood is surrounded by six state parks and is near the geographic center of the state of Arizona, approximately 100 miles north of Phoenix and 50 miles south of Flagstaff, with major access from I-17 by way of State Route 260.

With its location in the Verde Valley, Cottonwood has a plethora of enticing attractions, historic sites, and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Coconino National Forest and Prescott National Forest are both easily accessible from Cottonwood, with the former located eight miles from the City’s center and the latter just under 50 miles to the west.

The City is located adjacent to the Verde River at elevations ranging from 3,300 feet to 3,900 feet above sea level and is generally sunny with pleasant year-round temperatures. The mild temperatures and proximity to nearby attractions like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Tuzigoot National Monument, and the historic mining communities of Clarkdale and Jerome attract a steady number of tourists year-round.

The City’s downtown district, known as Old Town Cottonwood, is home to an abundance of eclectic cafes and restaurants, five wine and spirit tasting rooms, several antique stores, art galleries, and various other small businesses. Most children living in Cottonwood are enrolled in Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, which operates five schools, including four K-8 schools and one K-12 school.

People began to settle the area around present-day Cottonwood in the late 1800s to take advantage of opportunities for agriculture and trade to serve the growing mining activities in Jerome and later with Clarkdale. Early on, Cottonwood became the market center for the Verde Valley region. Over time, the City’s role as the retail and service center of the Verde Valley has grown. The medical and senior living community has a major presence in the form of the Verde Valley Medical Center campus and surrounding commercial buildings, doctors’ offices, laboratories, and related medical and clinical services. Today, the City’s main industries are tourism, government services, retail, and education.

Quick Facts

  • Population – 12,023 individuals
  • Median Age – 46 years
  • Median household income – $33,371

The ethnic makeup of the community is 85% White, 22.5% Hispanic or Latino, 1.8% Black, 1.2% Native American or Alaskan Native, 0.2% Asian, and 3.5% identify as two or more races.

The Verde Valley

The Verde Valley region occupies over 715 square miles. The area is unsurpassed in its variety of physical beauty with the red rocks and Mogollon Rim to the north and east and the Black Hills and Mingus Mountain dominating the western and southern portions of the valley. The Verde Valley region includes five incorporated municipalities, numerous unincorporated communities, parts of two counties, two National Forests, five State Park facilities, three National Monument facilities, a large amount of State Trust Land, Native American lands, mountains, canyons, and the Verde River with its equally impressive tributaries. Almost half the population of the Verde Valley lives in incorporated cities and towns with the rest living in unincorporated portions of Yavapai County and in Coconino County near Sedona. The five incorporated communities include City of Cottonwood, Town of Clarkdale, Town of Camp Verde, Town of Jerome, and City of Sedona.


The salary range for this position is $129,307 – $190,551 depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that contains a cover letter and resume with salary history. Open until filled with first review of applications October 5, 2018.


Please direct questions to Jenn Reichelt at 513-221-0500 or

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