By Scottsdale Watchman
A town manager wears many hats. On any given day, he or she must interact with engineers, elected officials and eccentric citizens. In Arizona’s most posh municipality, Paradise Valley, a town manager’s tasks are no different.
In August of last year, the Town Council tabbed Brian Dalke as Paradise Valley’s “Interim Town Manager.” For 23 years prior, Dalke held various posts in the burgeoning western Phoenix suburb of Goodyear and he was the town manager for his last six years there. Now we know that “Goodyear” and “Paradise Valley” aren’t mentioned in the same breath very often, but Dalke’s impressive experience in business, economic development and financial analysis enabled Goodyear to be named in the Top 10 Cities in America to live in in 2015. That’s not easy to accomplish.
His impressive database of knowledge was needed because he had pretty big shoes to fill in P.V. The last town manager, Kevin Burke, adeptly guided Paradise Valley for nearly four years. Under Burke’s leadership, P.V. residents had recorded unprecedented and nationally-recognized resident satisfaction survey results. The town’s resort industry experienced a resurgence as the Hermosa Inn and Sanctuary and the Camelback Inn were renovated and land was rezoned for a luxurious and one-of-a-kind Ritz-Carlton resort.
A lengthy and time-consuming nationwide search ensued for a new town manager. The person the Town Council did choose, Mark Perkins, decided that he didn’t want to move to Arizona and instead would remain in his role as the town administrator of Creve Coeur, Missouri. We can only guess that the allure of St. Louis-style barbecue was just too strong. Or the pungent smell of Dembow v. Stanton kept him at home.
The drawback of this decision was that it left one of Arizona’s most stable communities in a state of limbo. The good bit of fallout from Perkins’ decision is that it’s allowed Dalke to remain in place in Paradise Valley.
Dalke has been objective and analytical in his approach to issues impacting the town. He’s forged close bonds with P.V. residents, been cooperative with the business community and has earned the trust of town councilmembers, none of which is easy to do. This is all quite impressive considering he’s only been on the job for less than nine months.
Former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians’ first substantive NFL head coaching experience was as the “interim head coach” for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He won nine of 12 games at the helm and led the Colts to the playoffs. He parlayed the marvelous work he did in Indy into a full-time gig with the Cardinals, where he became the winningest head coach in franchise history.
Is Dalke the next Arians? For Paradise Valley’s sake, let’s hope that Dalke doesn’t choose to use his accomplishments during his interim tenure there into a job with another municipality, or to retire, any time soon.