This year's Catherine F. Connolly award was presented to Mike Townsend, Deputy County Manager for Coconino County. The Catherine F. Connolly Outstanding City/County
Manager Award recognizes an outstanding assistant city or county manager who has demonstrated exemplary service to their organization, the community, local government
and ACMA. The namesake of the award, Catherine F. Connolly, was the executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns for eight years and served more than
20 years as the Deputy Director.
Mr. Townsend began his career with the county 14 years ago and has served various roles such as the finance director, chief financial officer, deputy county manager
and interim county manager.
Mike's leadership over the past several years has been exemplified by the county's success in managing through the turbulent economic environment since 2008. At a time
when most cities and counties were struggling to keep afloat, including laying off employees and cutting critical programs, it was under Mike's strong fiscal management
and leadership that the county was able to not only hold strong and steady, but move forward in a positive direction during these times.
Mike clearly exhibited the initiative and willingness to take on increasing responsibility when he accepted the appointment as interim county manager. During his tenure,
Mike demonstrated the understanding that you cannot have the authority without taking responsibility and making tough decisions. He managed through the transition of several
key positions and implemented an organizational assessment of the Community Development Implementation of a modified planning process. He also worked on the development
and approval of the Fort Tuthill Master Plan, worked with County departments and the Navajo Nation on the Twin Arrows CasinoProject and helped to implement the Wellness
Incentive Program for the Northern Arizona Public Employees Benefit Trust.
Mike is also a strong supporter of the individuals who are providing the service. Internally, Mike demonstrates the ability to communicate the organizational vision and
mission and the connection to strategic outcomes. He possesses a high level of analytical and problem-solving skills while maintaining the ability to explain complex
topics in understandable terms.
In addition, during Mike's tenure, he has demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation with a clear focus on strategic outcomes, employee motivation and serving the
citizens in Coconino County. Through leadership and team building skills, he is able to create a work environment that engages employees and encourages their contribution.
Through these qualities, Mike has guided the organization in many successful initiatives.
Mike continues to participate in professional development opportunities to better his leadership and management skills. Mike follows the strictest guidance of ethical standards
and is recognized by his superiors, peers and employees for his ethical standards. He upholds the highest conduct and strives to make Coconino County a better place through his
actions. If you speak to Mike's peers, they will say that he is ethical and this carries over to professional life; he is personable, communicative and engaging.