In the past two years, Mesa City Manager Chris Brady has recruited new staff despite the city’s financial strife, landed new businesses and improved Mesa’s public image, according to a memo he submitted to the City Council last week in anticipation of his annual review.
The memo also included Brady’s goals for the coming year, such as strengthening the city’s financial situation, furthering economic development and improving the city’s “customer service.”
Details such as salary or contract changes in Brady’s review, conducted Thursday behind closed doors, won’t become public until the matter is introduced at a future City Council meeting.
In his memo to the council, Brady touted his successes in economic development, such as attracting the CMC Steel Plant and Waveyard, and expanding and developing hospitals.
He has also shaken up the city staff, requiring quarterly reviews of all departments, complete with statistics and scorecards, he reported.
Brady noted his City Hall at the Mall program as an “experience to create more opportunities to be in front of Mesa citizens.”
The program brought representatives of several city departments to shopping malls to meet with residents and answer questions.
Along with his list of accomplishments, Brady outlined some goals for 2008.
Some goals focus on continuing the city’s recent efforts in economic development and dealing with the city budget, including educating the public about the city’s finances.
He said he would also review the service of the city’s utilities and information technology departments.
Since moving to Mesa from San Antonio, some of Brady’s decisions have stirred controversy.
Brady was censured in May after a debacle involving the Mesa Police Department and sexually explicit e-mails.
A Maricopa County Superior Court ruling stated that Brady violated his authority by requiring all departments to follow his disciplinary model, instead of allowing departments to determine the punishments.
Still, his managerial style has garnered the admiration of other Valley leaders.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome said Brady has changed the way people see the city, though his efforts won’t bring immediate results.
“With what he’s done, we probably would’ve started to see some pretty aggressive payoffs, but with the economy slumping, those might be two or two and a half years away,” Broome said. “Everybody is very impressed with Chris, but we have to be patient, too.”
Since being named city manager, Brady has brought a sense of hope and optimism to a city fraught with economic problems, Broome said.
“Mesa is an incredible natural asset, and there was always a sense of frustration for people in how you make those dreams and goals of Mesa actually happen,” Broome said. “Years of not addressing the right problems, quite candidly, creates challenges.”
Last year, Brady drew praise from the City Council during his first annual review. He received a standard 2 percent salary increase, a larger contribution to his retirement account and additional vacation days.