Hlavinka relishes community lifestyle, new role as Clarkdale town manager
New Clarkdale Town Manager Tracie Hlavinka rolled into town last Friday just in time to attend the town’s first summer community block party.
So goes life in small-town America.
“I got to meet a lot of people,” she said. “I was very really impressed by the turnout.”
Hlavinka had driven 15 hours over two days with her 130-pound English Mastif where she was leaving her job as deputy city manager in Desoto, Texas. She was chosen over 70 applicants to take over when long-time Clarkdale Town Manager Gayle Mabery retires at the end of June.
“I love the fact that everybody knows everybody,” Hlavinka said of Clarkdale. “People feel like they can come in, ask questions. We are the closest thing to government that touches the public.”
Desoto is a town of 53,000 residents. As deputy city manager, Hlavinka was directly in charge of about 80 employees. By comparison, Clarkdale has about 4,300 residents. Here, she oversees all the town employees, which number about 50, she said.
Hlavinka described Desoto as a large spread-out community. Consequently, “it was difficult to get to meet or know everyone,” she said, “which is something I am really looking forward to in Clarkdale.
As for her role in Clarkdale, Hlavinka said she likes the fact that she can “dive in” to all the different departments. “It’s more hands-on and a lot of more direct roles than in Desoto,” she said.
Hlavinka joked that while it was not a prerequisite that she know how to kayak to get her new job in the Verde River-centric town, “That and hiking are the two things I look forward to.”
Mabery will continue to work with Hlavinka until the end of June after serving as Clarkdale’s town manager for 21 years.
According to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Mabery is the second-longest serving town manager in the state, second to Sierra Vista City Manager Chuck Potucek’s 22-year run. The average city manager serves for five years, according to the League of Cities and Towns.