Phoenix has a new city manager

Phoenix City Council has hired Jamie McLeod, who worked for 11 years in planning positions in the Bay Area’s Santa Clara Valley, to be the next city manager.

City Councilors Carolyn Bartell, Stan Bartell, Terry Helfrich, Jim Snyder and Bruce Sophie voted Monday for the appointment. Councilor Chris Luz abstained. A candidate for mayor in the November election, Luz said he didn’t want to vote because he might be working with McLeod in the future.

“I think there are very exciting times ahead for the city. There’s a great staff in place,” said McLeod. “This current council has done a lot of work for positive, smart growth. The stage is really set for the city to develop in a very positive way.”

A contract still needs to be negotiated between the city and McLeod, but she will be paid $92,500 annually and be evaluated at six and 13 months.

“I think she is going to have a good, honest broker relationship with the council," Snyder said Tuesday morning. "She will analyze things, and if she sees differences in approaches, she will spell those out, then we will have to make a decision. I think that will be one of her strengths.”

McLeod will be working with a number of new council members beginning in January. The Bartells and Helfrich, all veteran members, have chosen not to run. Terry Baker, Stuart Warren and Sarah Westover are seeking the openings. In addition, should Luz become mayor, the council would need to appoint his replacement in January. Ben McCormick is also running for mayor.

“The first part for me will be understanding what they want to see accomplished in the city,” said McLeod. “Also, helping them learn the rules so they understand how to protect the city, and helping to work with them so they can be effective in moving forward with their vision for the city.”

McLeod was an environmental planner with the Santa Clara Water District and a senior city planner with Sunnyvale between 2003 and 2012. Over the last three years she earned a law degree at the University of Oregon.

An Ashland High School graduate, McLeod has family in the Rogue Valley. She cited the quality of life in the area as a motivating factor in seeking the position.

McLeod, who also has an engineering degree, worked on construction projects in Bosnia and Kosovo, worked with nonprofits on refugee efforts, and served on the Santa Clara City Council for eight years.

City Attorney Ryan Kirchoff was the other finalist the council considered. City Planning Director Matt Brinkley has served as interim manager since May, when Steve Dahl was terminated.

In other business, the council learned that a verbal agreement has been reached on the purchase of a 33,000-square-foot lot owned by the Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency at 170 Main St. Dollar General had considered building on the site but withdrew before a sale was completed.

The sale price is $270,000, said Brinkley, who also serves as PHURA Executive Director. A contractor plans to build a 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot shop on the site to house his company and an Ashland cabinetmaker who is relocating. A separate building of up to 2,000 square feet would be constructed for retail space.

In addition, the purchaser would start construction of eight to 12 residential units on the property within 12 months under the proposal. Council would provide up to $20,000 for installation of an additional waterline at the site or assistance with system development charges, estimated to cost $60,000.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at

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