This just in from the City of Phoenix -- Frank Fairbanks, who has been City Manager for nearly 20 years, is retiring.
The country's fifth-largest city will begin a nationwide search for his replacement.
The city put out a long news release about this notable change in administration:
Longtime City Manager Frank Fairbanks Announces Retirement After 37-Year Career
Longtime Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks announced his retirement today. The 62-year-old Phoenix native who has held the city manager's position longer than any previous manager, said he will step down Nov. 5, ending a 37-year career with the city. The City Council is expected soon to begin a national search for Fairbanks' replacement.
Fairbanks, who joined the city in 1972 as a management assistant, has spent his entire city career in key management roles, including assistant and executive assistant to the city manager and assistant city manager. He was named city manager in 1990 following the retirement of Marvin Andrews, who held the post for 14 years. "Frank has been the top city manager in the United States for the past two decades," said Mayor Phil Gordon. "He cares passionately about the city's residents, as well as city employees. He's been a visionary leader whom I've respected and enjoyed working with. The council and I will miss his wisdom, knowledge and friendship." Fairbanks' tenure has been filled with major accomplishments and challenges as the city's population grew from less than 1 million people to more than 1.5 million, making it the fifth largest city in the county. Shortly after becoming city manager, the national economy turned sour and he was faced with a financial crisis that required sharp cuts in spending, reductions in programs and services and the elimination of more than 400 positions. His creative handling of the crisis led to the American City & County magazine naming him the nation's top municipal leader of 1994. That award came just one year after Fairbanks helped Phoenix win the Carl Bertelsmann Price as one of the two best-managed cities in the world. It shared the prize with Christchurch, New Zealand. Fairbanks' management skills and outstanding relationship with city employees earned him and the city many more honors after that. Financial World magazine ranked Phoenix the best-managed of the nation's 30 largest cities in 1995. The rankings were based on how well the cities handled their financial management, performance management, infrastructure management and use of information technology. In 1999, the Government Performance Project study conducted by Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University honored Phoenix as the Best Run City in the United States. Phoenix was the only city in the study to receive an over all grade of "A." A year later, Governing magazine's Report Card on Urban Management gave the city an "A" in all four of the categories it studied: financial management, human resources, capital management and managing for results. In 2005, Fairbanks received the National Public Service Award, the highest public service award given for distinction in public service by the American Society for Public Administration and the National Public Academy of Public Administration. And, just last week, Phoenix was named an All-America city by the National Civic League, which cited the city for its newly developed urban education campuses, parks and land preservation strategies and library teen spaces. While the awards came during his tenure as city manager, Fairbanks has always been quick to point to the city's employees as being the key agent in bringing the recognition to both him and the city. Additionally, he has championed the city's efforts to get residents involved in city projects, including major city improvement bond projects, budget issues and neighborhood improvement programs. Prior to joining the city, he served two years as a member of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica and worked briefly for the Small Business Administration. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Loyola University in Los Angeles and a master's degree in business administration from the University of California. Fairbanks is married with five grown children.
Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks Fact Sheet
· Joined city as a management assistant on Oct. 31, 1972.
· Appointed executive assistant to the city manager in 1976.
· Appointed assistant city manager in 1988.
· Appointed city manager in 1990.
· City won Carl Bertelsmann Prize as one of the two best-managed cities in the world in 1993.
· Phoenix is named by Financial World magazine as the best-managed of the nation's 30 largest cities in 1995.
· City earns Best Run City Award in the U.S. and an overall grade of "A" by the Government Performance Project study conducted by Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse in 1999.
· Phoenix receives an A in all four management categories studied by Governing magazine in 2000.
· Fairbanks received the National Public Service Award, the highest award given for distinction in public service by the American Society for Public Administration and the National Public Academy of Public Administration in 2005.
· Phoenix is named an All America city by the National Civic League in 2009.
· Fairbanks has worked with 28 different council members and five mayors during his tenure as city manager.
· Fairbanks retires Nov. 5, 2009.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.