Williams officials hire new city manager
Brandon Buchanan to begin duties at City Hall Nov. 9, nearly two years after former manager's departure
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - After two years without a permanent city manager, Williams City Council members have hired Brandon Buchanan to fill the position.
Following Dennis Wells' departure in November 2009, Williams City Finance Director Joe Duffy has acted as Interim City Manager. In May, Duffy pressed the city to begin a search for a candidate to fill the position.
According to Williams Mayor John Moore, the search for a city manager began with 89 candidates. City Council members conferred and narrowed the field to six individuals. After interviews, three candidates were called back for a second interview.
Buchanan, City Administrator in Oakley, Kansas for the past three years, came out on top.
"He's done a really good job in Oakley," Moore said.
Buchanan attended graduate school at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, Buchanan received his BA from Arizona State. He began his higher education pursuing an architecture degree before switching gears.
"I realized I didn't want to design just one building so I changed to urban planning at Arizona State," Buchanan said.
After completing his degree program, Buchanan moved into internships with the city of Phoenix. He then received his Masters in Public Administration and eventually began work for the city of Oakley.
Councilman Don Dent said Buchanan's background is right in line with what the council was looking for in a candidate.
"He understands what it is like to live in a small community and survive there," Dent said.
Originally from Arizona, Buchanan and his wife, Corrie, from the Los Angeles area, hoped to eventually move back westward to be closer to family. The Williams City Manager position looked like an excellent fit.
"We started looking for a town that would fit where we wanted to live and Williams was kind of the natural choice there," Buchanan said.
Oakley's population, at close to 2,000 people, is just a bit smaller than Williams. Buchanan said small towns provide opportunities for managers to really get involved in the community.
"You get to deal with everything," he said. "You're not just stuck in an office, writing reports and filing paperwork all day. I'm very much the type of manager who likes to get out and know what is going on in the different departments and the community. I don't like sitting in an office all day. In big cities, I think what you end up doing a lot of is sitting in the office all day."
According to Dent, Buchanan's record in Oakley and management style appealed to council members.
"He's less of an office person and more out in the field running the crews," Dent said. "That's very impressive and something we were kind of looking for."
As far as a management philosophy goes, Buchanan said a hands-on approach suits him best.
"I'm more the kind of manager that doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and getting stuff done," he said. "When something needs to get done in the community, whether it's fixing potholes or whatever it is, you need to get it done, whatever it takes."
Buchanan will finish up in Kansas Nov. 3. He and his family will move immediately, with Buchanan showing up for duty at city hall in Williams Nov. 9.
He plans to hit the ground running, visiting with residents to get a pulse on concerns in the community.
"I think as a manager, you can't just walk in right away and start changing everything and laying down the rules," Buchanan said. "You need to see how everything works before you start working yourself into the deal."
Dent said another, less quantifiable, asset Buchanan brings to the table is youthful enthusiasm.
"He truly wanted this job and truly wants to be in a small town," he said. "When we did second interviews and we asked the candidates to bring their wives along, they were both just enthralled with the opportunity. So, I think is going to be a very good choice."