Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos Leaving Phoenix, Taking Job in California

David Cavazos at Sky Harbor International Airport
David Cavazos at Sky Harbor International Airport

Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos announced on Thursday that he is calling it quits in Phoenix.

Cavazos, the first Latino to serve as city manager, has brokered a deal to become the next city manager in Santa Ana, a community in Orange County with about 300,000 residents.

The Santa Ana City Council is expected to approve the deal with Cavazos, which includes a $315,000 starting salary, on August 5. He's likely to stay on in Phoenix until October.

In a statement, he offers these parting words: "It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City of Phoenix for more than 26 years, especially the last four years as city manager. Because of the outstanding leadership of the Mayor and City Council, excellent city employees and an involved, committed community, we have accomplished many goals in the last few years."

He says he will be working closely with the elected officials as they search for his replacement and completing outstanding assignments.

Cavazos started as a City of Phoenix management intern in 1987. At that time, he was making $9.47 an hour. In 2009, when he was hired as city manager, he was pulling in about $237,000, not including other bonuses like a $600 car allowance. In December, the Phoenix City Council handed him a controversial $78,000 pay raise, bringing his annual salary to $315,000.

Some called it obscene, other said it was more than deserved.

"I came from a large, hard-working middle class family with six brothers and sisters," Cavazos said in his statement. "I was the first in my family to graduate from college. Growing up, I never dreamed that I would become the city manager of the sixth-largest city in the nation."

Cavazos is credited for guiding Phoenix through an economic storm, at a time when the city was facing a $277 million budget deficit. Cavazos established an Innovation and Efficiency Task Force, which comprises city workers and residents, saving the city millions using various cost-cutting techniques.

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