Maria Baier Leaving Phoenix City Council to Become State Land Commissioner

 Maria Baier, who won a hard-fought race for Phoenix's District 3 City Council seat in 2007, will leave her post to become State Land Commissioner, Governor Jan Brewer's office announced today.

The land commissioner oversees the sale of state trust land, which pays for school construction.

Seems like a short tenure on the council for Baier. She must have grown tired of hearing from constituent complaints. Besides, land commissioner is a far cushier job. And the potential for networking with rich developers -- priceless.

As a Phoenix news release explains below, Baier will resign her council post tomorrow. A special election will be held to replace her:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today named Phoenix City Councilmember Maria Baier as the Arizona State Land Commissioner.

Baier, who represents District 3 and was elected to her first term in 2007, succeeds Mark Winkleman, who resigned recently.

Baier will resign her position on the Phoenix City Council at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 17. Under the Phoenix City Charter, the City Council must call a special election to fill the vacancy and must appoint an interim councilmember until the special election is held.

"I'm honored to become a member of Gov. Brewer's Cabinet and continue working as a public servant. I'm saddened to leave my position with the city. It was the greatest privilege of my life to have served the residents in District 3. They are kindhearted, constructive and positive, beyond my wildest imagination," said Baier. "I look forward to the new challenges and will continue to work hard to improve the quality for residents statewide."

"While I've worked with Maria Baier the least amount of time on the Council, she quickly and clearly became one of our council's brightest stars. I commend the governor for an outstanding selection to help lead our state and am sure she will leave a legacy we can all take pride in," said Mayor Phil Gordon. "These are challenging times that require strong and immediate leadership. I will be supporting the best-qualified candidate to fill a pair of shoes that need to hit the ground running from the first minute of the first day."  As commissioner, Baier will direct the State Land Department and uphold its mission to manage state trust lands and resources to enhance value and optimize economic return for the trust beneficiaries, consistent with sound stewardship, conservation, and business management principles supporting socioeconomic goals for residents. Baier spent 10 years on the Executive Staff of the Office of the Governor, serving two administrations. She served as senior policy advisor in the areas of natural resources, growth and development, environmental quality and criminal justice. She also has a background in communications, having served as deputy director of communications and lead speechwriter while with the Governor's Office and as public information officer for the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Liberal Arts at Arizona State University in Tempe and went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Individuals interested in seeking more information about the District 3 seat should contact the City Clerk Department at 602-262-6837.