TUCSON – Clarkdale Town Manager Gayle Mabery has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award in the Community Builder division for communities with populations less than 100,000.
Mabery was honored for her efforts “to advance community pride and connectedness through such areas as job creation and training, healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteer and philanthropic efforts, and educational advancement,” according to the Center for the Future of Arizona website.
Nominees included public service employees in any city or town with less than 100,000 people, any county expect Maricopa and Pima counties, and any tribal government.
Mabery was nominated for the award by Clarkdale Town Council Member Bill Regner.
“It is incredibly humbling to be recognized in this way, and hard to accept an individual award when much of what I have achieved is as a result of the dedication and influence of the incredible staff and elected officials that I’ve worked with through the years,” said Mabery. “Public service can be a challenging career, and it gets ever more challenging each year. I am proud to play the role that I do in local government, and passionate about building connections in our communities. Gabe Zimmerman was a humble, kind and dedicated public servant, and gave his life in service to our country. To receive an honor today in his name will remain a highlight of my career.
“My thanks to Clarkdale Council Member Bill Regner for nominating me for the award, the committee at the Center for the Future of Arizona for selecting me as a recipient, to our Clarkdale Town Staff for serving our citizens with me every day, and our elected officials for their support and vision. Finally, to my parents for showing me what public service was all about, my husband, who is an inspiring public servant as well, and our daughters who inspire us every day. I wouldn’t be here without all your support and inspiration.”
Mabery began her career in Clarkdale through an internship with Northern Arizona University in 1991, and accepted a full-time position with Clarkdale in May, 1992. After serving in numerous roles with the town during her first six years, she was appointed as the town manager in March, 1998.
In his nomination of Mabery, Regner wrote, “Public service has been part of Gayle’s life for as long as she can remember. Her parents, both life-long educators in Arizona's public school systems, instilled the importance of civic engagement and public service and led by example. Her father served as her introduction to local government. He was one of the longest serving volunteers on the local fire department, and also served as an elected town council member. Aside from volunteer positions in her youth, Gayle’s own “work" in public service began in 1988 at Northern Arizona University where she was employed to administer grants to support the University's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. With her tenure at NAU and her work in various capacities with the Town of Clarkdale her career in public service spans a 29-year period. With full belief in the need to support professional and personal growth opportunities for others, and to instill the importance of civic leadership in our community, Gayle was also a founding member and inaugural president of the Board of Verde Valley Leadership. Now in its 12th year, the organization lives its mission; Inspiring Individuals to Action.”
Regner continued: “Clarkdale is where she grew up and returned to after graduating from NAU. She has managed with intelligence, grace, and skill mayors and council members of every persuasion, motivation, aptitude, and duration. She engages town citizens the same way. Gayle endeavors to build and sustain a positive organizational culture of extremely talented department heads and staff who have stood loyally alongside her through the challenges of the past decade.”
“Since 2008, she has overseen a difficult reduction of force from 51 to a low of 38 employees. She consolidated seven departments down to four and then added economic development responsibilities on top of that. Her staff continue to produce at output levels that maximize every resource available while receiving praise and accolades from every funding source and auditor involved … Gayle is highly respected in her Verde Valley region and always available to lend her experience and expertise. Ask any member of the Arizona City/County Manager’s Association about Gayle Mabery and they will praise her. In fact, just mention Clarkdale and they will say ‘Gayle Mabery.’”
The annual Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are dedicated to the memory of Gabe Zimmerman, a staff member of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. He was killed Jan. 8, 2011, when a gunman opened fire at Congresswoman Giffords in a Tucson parking lot; 19 people were shot, and six were killed. Gabe Zimmerman is remembered as the epitome of a public servant, a critical link that worked so passionately to help connect people with their government, and in doing so, build a better future for us all.