Manager Cooperation and Collaboration: The White Mountain Managers Association
By The White Mountain Managers Association

Located in northeast and north-central Arizona are the treasured communities of Navajo and Apache counties. Professional managers direct the nine incorporated communities, and both Counties in this, the White Mountain region. Historically, these communities cooperated when necessary but generally worked individually and pursued individual goals for improvement.

In 2005, the County, City and Town Managers altered that practice and belief by organizing together and spotlighting the importance of regional collaboration and cooperation. As a result, the White Mountain Managers Association (WMMA) was born.

The WMMA is composed of the Managers, and Assistant Managers from Eagar, Holbrook, Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, Snowflake, Springerville, St. Johns, Taylor, Winslow, Navajo County and Apache County. Although schedules are always in conflict, the majority of the 11 Managers set aside, as a priority, the time to meet bi-monthly to address common issues, work cooperatively and better the entire region. Agendas allow problem identification, brainstorming, sharing of successful efforts, improvement of professional and community relationships, expansion of resources and networks, diffusion of rumors, and provide a forum for confidential peer support.

Since WMMA covers a large part of the State, bi-monthly meetings rotate through member communities with each Manager hosting a lunch meeting. Early on, the WMMA learned lunch meetings in local restaurants were more conducive to the informal intent of the meetings rather than sitting in the conference room. The local restaurant also offers privacy from general access, so that distractions, noise and intrusions are minimal. In this setting, open and frank conversation flourishes and confidentiality is closely guarded.

Discussions amongst the Managers range from economic development to stress reduction; employment contracts to Council/Board interaction; and from legislative actions to personal health.

Although the Managers discuss common interests, on occasion invited guests add to specific discussions or make presentations. However, once completed, the guest departs so confidentiality and peer support may continue.

The Managers find these bi-monthly meetings of great value in their professional development and relationships, as well as in their personal well-being.

For further information concerning the WMMA, please contact Eric Duthie, Taylor Town Manager by email: eduthie@tayloraz.org or any Manager in Navajo or Apache County.
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: (602) 258-5786
Fax: (602) 253-3874
http://www.azmanagement.org
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Contact Amy Price at
(602) 258-5786 or
aprice@azleague.org.