Feb. 28—Public Affairs Wrap Up

Did you miss last Friday’s Public Affairs Committee meeting? Here are the highlights:

The City of Phoenix’s new City Manager, Ed Zuercher, spoke with committee members for a large portion of Friday’s meeting. Zuercher was appointed Phoenix City Manager on Feb. 19, 2014. In this role, he is the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Phoenix and oversees the largest council-manager form of government in the United States, with 14,500 city employees, including seven employee unions and associations. Zuercher encourages city employees to focus on working smarter, saving money aggressively and treating residents kindly in order to maintain residents’ high public approval ratings for city services.

Zuercher commented on areas the City of Phoenix excels, including providing exceptional services at affordable costs and engaging city employees. He did note that Phoenix will be facing a large challenge next year in the form of a deficit of close to $40 million.

“The pathway to a more secure revenue stream is to raise the income for residents,” Zuercher said.  Two ways the city is working to raise residents’ income are creating a business friendly environment and increasing education attainment levels among Phoenix residents.

In recent years, Phoenix has partnered with Arizona State University, specifically working closely with the ASU Downtown Campus, which has been vital to the revitalization of downtown Phoenix.  You can read more about the Chamber’s thoughts on the importance of university partnerships here.

In closing Zuercher said, “Phoenix needs to be a diverse, dynamic and desirable place.” The Chamber is proud to have a good working relationship with the City. Right now, the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee has recently revived its Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program and coordinates closely with Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department in providing companies with connections to resources to strengthen and expand their businesses. With new co-chairs Darrell Member and Cindy Erwin, the BRE committee members have started meeting with businesses in the Health Care industry in the Greater Phoenix region.

After a great discussion with Zuercher, the committee reviewed and approved the Chamber’s Issue Committees’ positions on legislation. You can review the Chamber positions on legislative bills at our website.

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