Mike Hein, Marana's town manager for the last five years, announced last week he will resign to take a higher paying job as a deputy Pima County administrator beginning Aug. 4.
Hein's likely successor, former Marana vice mayor and current Assistant Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat, will be the only person considered for the position of Marana's top administrator, officials said.
Reuwsaat's appointment is expected to be voted on by the town council at its next meeting.
"Mike Reuwsaat will be following in Hein's place. That's already been established," said Jane Howell, Marana's human resources director. "It will go before the council July 15."
Hein's reputation as an effective and innovative administrator had longed fueled speculation that he would leave for a better paying job in a larger government.
In February 2001, the council jumped his base pay 43 percent to his current salary of $125,000 in part to try and retain him.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said Hein would be paid a starting salary between $130,000 and $140,000 annually to handle community and economic development issues.
Reuwsaat, who resigned from his elected and unpaid council seat in 2000 to take the $78,500 per year assistant manager position Hein created for him, has seen his salary rise to $93,747 annually. His salary as manager, if the promotion is approved by council, has not yet been determined.
Hein's tenure brought significant growth, financial stability and a more sophisticated image to the town. He said he was leaving "simply because the opportunity presented itself."
"There's not really a solid issue that you could point to. Clearly, it wasn't job satisfaction. I'm very pleased with the opportunity that Marana has given me. The mayor and council and the staff have been great to work with, and things are going reasonably well.
"It's just a different opportunity. It's hard to say it's a better opportunity. It's certainly an opportunity that will present challenges to me. I'm reasonably young. I don't think anybody anticipated that I would retire in the town of Marana. I've always been the kind to try and leave when things are good. I think things are good," the 36-year-old Hein said.
Marana Mayor Bobby Sutton Jr. said there was no discussion of opening the town manager position to a search or a competitive application process.
"We got to keep Mike Hein longer than we should have. With the talent that he has, we knew he was going to be moving on to something different to challenge himself, so Mike Reuwsaat has been primed to take over the helm. It's a natural transition and in my mind there's no need for a search because we've got someone who is just basically changing offices and titles.
"(Reuwsaat) will be doing very similar things that he has already been doing plus a few new things that he's already accustomed to. So in my mind, and in the council's mind, there's no need for any type of search. If it gets to where (Reuwsaat) doesn't feel like he can handle it, he'll tell us to do a search. That's the kind of guy he is," Sutton said.
Reuwsaat, 47, has overseen land use issues such as working with developers and the federal government on matters related to the designation of much of Marana as protected habitat for the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, handling the development of the town's airport, and expanding Marana's parks and recreation programs.
Hein's new duties in the county will focus on a wide range of areas that include the office of tourism, neighborhood reinvestment, community block grants and serving as a liaison to the Greater Tucson Economic Council, Huckelberry said.
"Our activities in those areas have been scattered, and I want to bring them into focus and have one manager for the job. Mr. Hein has experience in community and economic development and planning in various communities. He also has an extensive background in border issues from dealing with the border community of Nogales. We're the county with the longest border exposure to Mexico. His recent experience with a rapidly growing smaller community also made him ideal to fill the position," Huckelberry said.
A native of Wisconsin who now lives in Oro Valley, Hein received his master's degree in public administration from the University of Arizona in 1991 and began as an intern for the one-mile square city of South Tucson that same year.
Between 1993 and 1997, Hein served in the positions of interim finance director, planning and zoning director and economic development director for the city of Nogales.
He was tapped to become assistant to Marana Town Manager Hurvie Davis' in 1997, and succeeded Davis to the top position a year later.
Hein is described by many town employees as a casual, but smart and determined manager. He was selected in 2001 to attend a prestigious program for state and local leaders at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, but could just as easily loosen his tie and join council members and staffers for beer after council meetings at La Tumbleweed Lounge in rural north Marana.
"He's been so quiet behind the scene, but he's had something to do with every minor or major project that has occurred during his time here," Sutton said. "He never takes credit for any of it. He always passes credit to his staff or the council. That's part of what made him the quality town manager he was. He wasn't in for the accolades. He was there to help us get to the vision of where we want to be."
Reuwsaat, 47, served as an assistant to the city manager and director of housing and community development in Corpus Christi, Texas from 1991 to 1994, and as a recreation director in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas from 1981 to 1991.
His education includes a master's degree in recreation and resource development from Texas A& M University and a bachelor of science degree in recreational administration from the University of South Dakota.
He moved to Marana in 1994 to work with relatives who own Kelly Green Trees nursery and quickly became involved in town politics. He was elected to the Marana council in 1997.
In 2000, Reuwsaat was contemplating resigning his position on the council to relocate and look for another job after a dispute in the family business. Hein said in an interview at the time that Reuwsaat was "too valuable for the town to lose" and created the position of assistant town manager for him.
Reuwsaat said if promoted to manager, he did not anticipate any major changes and did not plan to immediately hire someone to fill his old assistant manager position.
However, the town has created a new position of in-house attorney to help with some of the development issues previously handled by Hein and Reuwsaat.
The new in house-attorney, Frank Cassidy, has more than 20 years experience in civil law and has specialized in land use issues, Hein said.
Cassidy served as assistant city attorney for the city of Tucson from 2001 until last February, and spent almost six years as a deputy attorney in the civil division of the Pima County Attorney's Office, according to a copy of his resum obtained from the town.
Cassidy will be paid $96,000 annually when he begins next month, said Diane Mangialardi, Hein's administrative manager.
The town had previously used the law firm of Hochuli & Benavidez as its town attorney and prosecutor. Hein said the town will keep the firm on the payroll.
With Hochuli and Benavidez, the town spent more than $350,000 for legal services last year, according to the town's budget summary.
Hein attributed the recent increase in payments to the firm in part to protracted court fights over the incorporation of the town of Tortolita. He said in addition to Cassidy, the town plans to continue using Hochuli & Benavidez in a number of areas, including that of town prosecutor.
"Some of the stuff that ballooned was as a result of the Tortolita litigation. The in-house attorney is not a cost-benefit issue. It's a delivery of service issue," Hein said. "The amount reduced to Hochuli & Benavidez is not anticipated to cover the full cost of the in-house attorney. But clearly, a portion of what Hochuli & Benavidez provide will be absorbed by the in-house attorney thus reducing their billable hours. But that coupled with my departure, provides easy budget capacity."