Last month, I was honored with the Sentinel Award from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce for my efforts to reduce burdensome regulation and promote government efficiency since joining the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. I was thrilled to receive the honor with fellow awardees Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce and Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (not pictured). I will continue to champion efforts that ensure our state’s business climate is competitive.
Marc Community Resources
Marc Community Resources is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitation, and social services to over 8,000 children and adults with developmental, physical, or behavioral challenges each year. I was afforded an opportunity to tour Marc’s facility in Mesa with Marc’s President and CEO, Randy Gray; Marc Board of Directors member Diane Hough; and former Maricopa County Supervisor and current Marc Board of Directors member Tom Freestone. I was humbled by the work Marc employees do and by the invaluable services they provide to so many throughout my district and the entire county.
State Route 24 Ribbon Cutting
As many East Valley residents may know, the new section of State Route 24 opened to motorists this spring, providing a direct connection between the Santan Freeway and Ellsworth Road. Adequate infrastructure is essential in continuing to grow a vibrant community and economy, especially as business and residential growth continues in the East Valley.
I was honored to participate in the ribbon cutting for this exciting project that will enhance access around southeast Maricopa County and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Here, my sons Grant and Will are pictured with me and Supervisor Denny Barney from District 1.
Welcome Home Ceremony for Gilbert Veterans
I was honored to attend and participate in a welcome home ceremony for three returning Gilbert veterans with Mayor John Lewis, Town Councilmember Jenn Daniels, Supervisor Denny Barney, and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Operation Welcome Home, in partnership with the Town of Gilbert, hosts the events to recognize these brave men and women and show appreciation for their service and sacrifice. With the support of veterans organizations, service groups, and employers the returning veterans are reintroduced to the community. I valued the opportunity to show my personal appreciation and remain ever grateful for the service of the men and women who serve this country both at home and abroad.
Red Mountain High School Junior ROTC Pass and Review Ceremony
In April, I was able to attend the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Lion Battalion of Red Mountain High School’s Pass and Review Ceremony with the families of the students and community leaders from Mesa. I enjoyed the ceremony and respect the students’ leadership and dedication to the program. Here, I’m pictured with Councilman David Luna of Mesa and other event participants.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) Grant Programs at District 2 Libraries
Through a grant made possible by President Diane Enos and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, two libraries in my district – the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert and the Fountain Hills Branch Library – received funds to create science-based programs and activities for children. The libraries received S.T.E.M.-themed books, hands-on science kits, and additional related programming for the children of these communities.
My son Grant and I attended one of the science events at the Fountain Hills Branch Library, one of many that seeks to bring these critical subject areas to children in an innovative way. The Maricopa County Library District is focusing this summer’s reading program entirely to science – visit www.mcldaz.org for more information.
Maricopa County Farm Bureau Farm-City Partnership Breakfast
Each spring, the Maricopa County Farm Bureau organizes an event in my district to include local farmers, members of the agriculture community, elected officials, and others to discuss issues of importance to the farming community. It was a great opportunity to visit with so many long-time East Valley farmers and growers and I will continue to work to preserve agriculture’s place in the county.
Dedication of Verde Villas Housing Community
This spring, I attended the dedication of Verde Villas, a new Catholic Charities-owned housing community that will serve veterans and the formerly homeless. Maricopa County was a partner in this important project and I was honored to participate in the dedication with Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
VerdeXchange Visionary Panel
I was pleased to be invited to participate in a panel discussion on growth and the future of the metro Phoenix region as part of the second annual VerdeXchange Arizona Conference. The panel brought together elected officials, community leaders, and private sector organizations to discuss ways the region can work to promote and protect those things that make Arizona special, while working to ensure we are growing smarter as a region to preserve our resources. The panel was part of the multi-day conference that brought together hundreds of people for these important discussions and I appreciated the opportunity to share my views on the important role the county plays in creating a thriving local economy that can continue to encourage private sector growth.
Arizona Department of Homeland Security Central Region Advisory Council Meeting
I was honored to be appointed by Governor Jan Brewer to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security’s (AZDOHS) Central Region Advisory Council earlier this year. Arizona’s regional approach to homeland security includes five regional councils that identify resources and needs throughout the state to avoid duplicative purchases and makes the best use of limited federal funding. These regional councils strengthen our ability to work together at all levels to address common threat and vulnerability issues and encourage the sharing of resources across town, city, county, and tribal lines. In April, I participated in my first meeting as a member of the council and look forward to serving in this important capacity.
In addition to the AZDOHS Central Region Advisory Council, I was also recently appointed to the Arizona National Livestock Show Board of Directors, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership Advisory Board of Directors, and the Community Bridges Advisory Board of Directors. I am eager to participate in these organizations throughout my term.
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Process Improvements at County Regulatory Agencies
As outlined in past newsletters and press releases, the task force created last fall to identify and address areas for improvement at the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department was a tremendous success. Following in that same model, industry stakeholder groups were formed to evaluate the processes in place at our Environmental Services Department and Flood Control District. In varying stages, those committees have or will present their recommendations to the Board for approval and implementation. I campaigned on the idea that government processes should be more streamlined and business-friendly and am enthusiastic about the progress this Board and county leadership have made in that endeavor.
Pillars of Honor
In May, the Board of Supervisors recognized 29 county employees with at least 30 years of service to Maricopa County. Combined, that totaled nearly 1,000 years of dedicated public service – a staggering number that underscores the commitment and dedication of our employees. I believe in bringing a “Best in Class” mindset to our functions at Maricopa County and that starts with each of our employees – I appreciate the service of these men and women who worked so diligently on behalf of the residents of the county.
Environmental Protection Agency Approval of Maricopa County Dust Plan
Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has approved the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) 2012 Five Percent Plan for PM-10 dust emissions. This is great news for our region and a significant milestone – the first time in over 30 years that Maricopa County has achieved compliance with the health-based standards for dust. As the Board representative on the MAG Regional Council, I applaud the collaborative effort by government entities and stakeholders that participated in this long process.
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Collaboration with Elected Officials
As part of my continued efforts to regularly engage with the other elected officials in my district, I enjoyed my meetings with Mayor Alex Finter of Mesa, Mayor Scott LeMarr of Paradise Valley, and Mayor Vincent Francia of Cave Creek this quarter, as well as the visits I’ve had with other East and North Valley mayors I’ve seen at community events. Maintaining strong working relationships with our municipal partners is critical in developing and continuing partnerships that reduce government redundancy and provide efficiencies to the taxpayer.
Adoption of FY 2015 Budget
Last month, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the tentative budget for Fiscal Year 2015. The final product represents months of work under the Chairman’s leadership with Board offices, department heads, and county leadership to develop a conservative budget that reflects the true needs of the county. The longstanding criminal justice needs were a critical component of this year’s budget, as more than 50% of our budget is devoted to public safety. In order to handle the increased volumes in the complex justice system, this budget will add additional resources to address those needs. The budget was developed in coordination with our fellow elected officials throughout Maricopa County and is one that reflects our collective vision for the county’s strategic priorities. I look forward to finalizing the budget next week with my colleagues on the Board.
ASU Internships at Maricopa County
This fall, students at Arizona State University will have an opportunity to apply for internships with Maricopa County under a new program approved by the Board. The Maricopa County Leadership and Education Advancing Public Service program, MCLEAPS, will be open to all ASU students and will be administered through the ASU School of Public Programs and individual county departments. The program offers a paid stipend of $4700 for the semester, a waiver of the semester’s tuition and fees, and academic credit towards a degree, depending on the degree requirements of the students’ major. This is an exciting program that offers the county an opportunity to help train and develop the next generation of public servants. For more information, students can visit copp.asu.edu/mcleaps.
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Steve Chucri, District 2
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors