Phoenix city manager starts today

PHOENIX — The town has a new city manager, and he starts work today.

After reviewing two dozen applicants, city officials on Friday announced the hiring of former Crescent City, Calif., manager Eli Naffah on an interim, six-month basis.

In addition to spending a half-dozen years in city management, including two for Crescent City, Naffah has worked since 2009 as an instructor of political science at Eureka's College of the Redwoods and as a private economic development consultant.

Naffah will work only part time to start, Mondays through Wednesdays, to meet his teaching obligations.

"It'll be for six months, then we'll see where we go from there," said Naffah. "It's a great opportunity because there are economic development aspects that are needed here, and hopefully it will be enough to keep me using my skills in that area."

The position became available when former City Manager Jane Turner announced her resignation last year. She left the job Feb. 3.

Councilwoman Karen Jones said Naffah brings a range of experience and expertise in areas that could benefit the city.

"He has a good background in all the things we need ... meaning a good finance background and a good urban renewal background," Jones said.

"We've got this huge (Fern Valley) interchange thing coming in that's really going to impact the town.

"We're hoping he's someone who will help pull everything together and that he enjoys working here," she said.

Naffah holds degrees in political science and law, which proves helpful in government work, he said.

"The attractive thing for me is that the whole area — between Medford, Ashland, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Talent — is just a dynamic area," he said.

"There's a lot of potential in the whole area, and it's a nice community to be involved in."

Mayor Carlos DeBritto expressed hope that Naffah would make himself at home in Phoenix.

"We were looking for experience, and we think he fits the bill and can do some good for Phoenix," DeBritto said.

"He's going to be an interim for six months, so we can look and see how he fits in. Hopefully he will, because it's always expensive to try to recruit city managers."

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