Phoenix businessman joins council

PHOENIX — Having attended more government meetings than many city officials in recent years, business owner and 30-year city resident Stan Bartell took a seat at the City Council table this month.

Appointed to fill a vacancy created by the June resignation of Councilman Gary Reed, the 63-year-old Bartell, who is owner of Phoenix Automotive, said he hopes to bring about some needed change in the city.

"For the last three years we've been watching what's happening to our city and we're very concerned and would like to see if we can't make a difference," Bartell said, alluding to discord on the council, frequent resignations and a long list of unresolved issues.

After years on the citizen side of the council table, Bartell said he hopes he'll maintain his citizen's perspective and encourage communication and transparency between city officials and the public.

Bartell said he hopes he can encourage the city, which is facing issues ranging from financial woes and a regional problem-solving process to a debate over the future rebuilding of the Fern Valley interchange, to work toward "what's right for Phoenix and the people who live here.

"I appreciate being appointed to the council to serve the people of Phoenix," Bartell said. "We have a great city and I know that I will enjoy working with everyone."

Council Vice President Terry Helfrich says Bartell, a friend of his for 35 years, would keep an open mind and contribute constructive ideas.

"He has a good head and has offered some constructive input on some of the tough decisions we've had to make in the past few years," said Helfrich. "He's challenged us on some of the budget things and now we're really getting our arms wrapped around the budget. We're not out of the woods, but we're doing better. He's just very committed to trying to help."

Mayor Carlos DeBritto, who acknowledged the city's difficulty in keeping council members due to a slew of issues in recent years, said Bartell's perspective as a concerned citizen could prove helpful.

Aside from serving on a citizen's advisory committee, Bartell has spent time on the budget committee and planning commission.

"With all the involvement he has, he should be very well-versed for being on council," said the mayor.

"I think it's good that you have experience from the audience and then move up and be a council member," DeBritto said. "The perspective is quite different, but it's good to see things from both sides. I think he's a good addition."

While Bartell's appointment brings the council to its full complement of six members, the full roster was just temporary. Council President Bruce Sophie resigned effective Tuesday, becoming the latest of nearly a dozen council members who have left in recent years before their terms expired.

City officials will accept applications for the new vacancy through Aug. 15.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

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