Mesa had a very Brady week. Chris Brady, the new city manager, finished his first week on the job Friday with his optimism intact about a city that will be $37 million in the hole in July unless its historically conservative voters approve at least one tax hike in May.
Brady said many people have asked him why he would want the job, and he tells them that he simply looks beyond the current fiscal crisis.
"I see a lot of potential here," said Brady, most recently assistant city manager in San Antonio. "I see a lot of things that have been done very well here."
Brady greeted city employees Tuesday on his first day as their new boss. He faced a work force that has been chipped away by high-level departures and low morale.
"There are a lot of questions out there about the city’s future," Brady said. "And it’s important for me to build up their confidence."
This continued a pattern of public outreach to community leaders that Brady started when he was still interviewing for the job.
"In some respects it was kind of a selfish motive on my part," he said of his meetings with community leaders when he was still a finalist for the job. "It was important for me to see who I’d be working with."
Brady, 43, is the first Mesa city manager to be hired from outside the organization.
"I don’t think he believes in change for change’s sake, which is good," deputy city manager Debra Dollar said.
Much about Brady’s tenure depends on the May 16 election, which includes a sales tax increase and Mesa’s first property tax in 60 years. But Brady said he’s sticking around no matter what.
Things are not going to slow down for Brady next week, as he touches base with the headhunter recruiting Mesa’s next police chief. Brady will also be sworn in at his first regular City Council meeting and will meet with a couple hundred middle managers. And that just gets him to Tuesday.