Tucson city manager Richard Miranda announces retirement - Tucson News Now

Tucson city manager announces retirement

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda announced his retirement today, effective July 31.

In a memo to the city council, Miranda said, "My reason for making this decision is that after nearly 40 years of service with the city of Tucson, I feel that it is time to make this move for my family and me."

Miranda officially became the city manager in May 2012 after serving in an interim role for eight months.

His job was to bring stability back to the city manager's office after a tumultuous six years which resulted in two city managers being fired or pushed out.

"He was our Gerald Ford after Watergate," says Ward VI council member Steve Kozachik. 'He calmed things down and that's a good thing."

The search for his replacement will begin right after the holiday weekend.

"He gave us eight weeks to get the process started," says Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

The search may go on for a while, "but I'm not going to put a time limit on it," he says.

Whether the city will try to find someone local, someone already in the 10th floor office, or go outside will be a difficult decision.

The city has had some bad luck on both fronts in recent years.

"It's the most important decision the Mayor and Council make," Rothschild says.

The city manager serves as the CEO of a more than one billion dollar budget.

Council sets policy and the city manager carries it out.

Miranda's time in office has not been without controversy.

The potential sale of El Rio golf course to the Grand Canyon University stirred up a hornet's nest which is still playing out.

Every year since he took the helm, Tucson has faced budget cuts, including $27 million this year.

It has not always gone well.

"If you look at the city manager's proposed budget and the one we're voting on now, they are 180 degrees apart," Kozachik says.

The council recently voted to forestall any transit fare increases or bus route cuts which had been proposed by the city manager.

Miranda's goal of cutting $6 million from the transit subsidy has not been met.

Miranda's salary is just over $200,000.

Finding another city manager with experience and the right kind of background for that kind of money will be a challenge.

City manager salaries can be quite high.

"I don't know if we can come close to that," says Rothschild. "We may have to get used to the idea of paying more."

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said in a statement, "I count myself fortunate to have had Mr. Miranda serving as City Manager these past three years. He has been a steady, stabilizing presence, well-respected by City staff and the community, whose integrity and devotion to Tucson both are exceptional. I have benefited from his counsel on many occasions. I respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best. He will leave some very big shoes to fill."

Rothschild said the city will begin a national search for Miranda's replacement after the Memorial Day holiday.

Miranda, who was born in Tucson, joined the Tucson Police Department in 1975 and became Chief of Police in 1998. In 2008, after retiring from the police department, he became assistant city manager.

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