10 apply for appointment to Cottonwood City Council
COTTONWOOD — The Cottonwood City Council has no shortage of candidates to fill a vacancy among its seats at a critical moment.
Ten people applied to serve out the term of Jackie Nairn, who resigned because she moved to Buckeye. Among those seeking the appointment are previous elected officials, including former councilmembers. Several on the list had their names in the pool of applicants during the previous council vacancy in May.
The council is set to meet in closed session Monday, Oct. 2, to discuss the candidates. They may then interview their top picks during their regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 3, before making their selection.
Christopher Brown has for years been in real estate and has managed his own rental company, Brown Property Management, since 2010. He was the sales and marketing director for Touchmark, was a broker for Windemere and, variously (according to his LinkedIn account) has been an investigative journalist, tennis coach and singer-songwriter. Originally from the Seattle/Tacoma area, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Washington University. Politically, he identifies as a registered independent.
“I’m competent working with finances and budgets, and I can understand and build spreadsheets,” Brown wrote in his application. “From my experience working with so many boards and committees, I understand the social nature and the mechanics involved with these types of structures. And I believe that respectful and factual debate is an important part of decision-making, as is the concept of ‘politely agreeing to disagree.’”
Jesse Dowling served on the Cottonwood City Council from 2011 to 2016 and served two years on the Planning & Zoning Commission. He has worked at Pender Engineering since 1996. A graduate of Mingus Union High School, he has an associate’s degree from ITT Technical. He managed a cycling team for the Bike MS charity and was a long-time booster of the MUHS football team. He said his previous term was cut short because of the lack of housing. He and his wife were able to move back to Cottonwood three years ago.
“The city can't afford to have the future of the valley leaving due to the lack of a basic human need. My daughter and son-in-law are now living in Flagstaff as a result of the lack of housing supply. When it is easier to find a place in Flagstaff than here in the city, that is saying something,” Dowling wrote in his application.
Charissa (Nell) Faust has lived in Cottonwood more than 20 years. Homeschooled, she received her high school diploma in 2001; by then she was already running her own floral business, Flowers by Roo, which she operated until 2021. She is now working remotely as the intake manager for Launch Ministry in Minnesota and is the prevention specialist for AppleJack’s Ranch, an anti-trafficking outreach program.
“I am a single mother to three wonderful sons, and have a good perspective of the balancing act of work life and home life that Cottonwoods families experience,” Faust wrote in her application. “I have a good idea of what people my age and younger are looking for in their City, and how they enjoy being connected and involved.”
Randall Garrison was previously a member of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the Cottonwood City Council, and the governing boards of Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District and Mingus Union High School District. Among many other boards and committees, he is currently a member of the Northern Arizona Healthcare Board and vice-chair of the Cottonwood Planning & Zoning Commission. He and his wife own three businesses in Old Town Cottonwood. Accordingly, he is a member of the Old Town Association and Verde Valley Wine Consortium. He is also a member of the Mingus Mountain Republicans, Clemenceau Heritage Museum and National Rifle Association. A graduate of Mingus Union High School, Garrison graduated from the College of Business at Northern Arizona University.
James “Jimmy” Glascott is a member of the Cottonwood Planning & Zoning Commission and was among those interviewed for the previous vacancy on the council. He has lived in Cottonwood two and a half years. For the past 21 years he has been the owner/broker of Shamus Financial. He has also been a youth sports coach and referee. For seven years, he was an executive with Enterprise Rent-a-Car. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from California State University—Long Beach.
“Having owned/operated my own small business has provided me with many skills – HR/sales/admin/payroll tax, etc. – and working directly with individual one-on-one and large groups,” Glascott wrote in his application. “Have also have spent the last year and a half as a Planning & Zoning commissioner for the City of Cottonwood, which has basically provided on-the-job training for the elected/appointed position.”
Kent Hellman has lived in Cottonwood 23 years and was an original member of the City’s first Board of Adjustment. He is also on the City’s PSRS Board for police and fire. A 1974 graduate of Prescott High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College. Along with his military service, he was a police officer for Yavapai College for more than 20 years and has owned his own business in cabinet-making/woodworking. He said he has no personal agenda in his interest in the city council.
“Keeping in mind my law enforcement experience, I understand the importance of setting aside my personal biases while getting the facts of a situation and then weighing them carefully before jumping to a conclusion or casting a vote,” Hellman wrote in his application, “a skill that I believe is extremely important for a Council member to have.”
Albert “Al” Hilberger served three years on Cottonwood’s Parks & Recreation Committee and was previously a candidate for council in 2016. A licensed real estate agent, he has owned his own construction company and supervised commercial and residential projects. He has an associate’s degree in building construction.
“It would be an honor to serve on the city council. I am dependable, trustworthy and responsible,” Hilberger wrote in his application. “The only goal I have not met in my lifetime is to serve on the city council, which truly means a lot to me. I am known for getting along with people.”
Michael Mathews is a previous member of the city council, 2018-22. He opted not to run again last year as he retired. A real estate broker and investor for nearly 20 years, he calls himself mostly self-taught, having been an Air Force fighter mechanic, pump and motor tech, electrician, truck driver and cable TV installer. He was self-employed as a custom-home developer. This year he was an official spokesman for Stephen Gesell while the former police chief negotiated with City Hall.
“My time off since my term ended and after retiring at the end of last year has given me time to reflect on what I want to do with my time,” Mathews wrote in his application. “I have continued to watch meetings and stay involved with several constituents and city staff and employees who have been very encouraging about the possibility of my return to city council.”
Robert Rothrock has lived in Cottonwood 44 years and served one term on the city council. A former middle school social studies teacher, Rothrock has a master’s degree from NAU. He is currently a member of Keep Sedona Beautiful and previously served on the board of the Cottonwood Library, Verde Valley Land Preservation Institute and Friends of the Verde River.
“I believe Cottonwood has a leadership position in the Verde Valley. We must act wisely to avoid pitfalls and continue to provide high quality services to our community,” Rothrock wrote in his application. “I think my experiences as a social studies teacher and council member have prepared me to help guide our path.”
William Wagnon has lived in Cottonwood since 2007. A commended Vietnam veteran, he worked in the federal civil service at Edwards Air Force Base and Vandenberg Air Force (now Space Force) Base. He developed and taught a computer course at California School of Continuing Education. He was the tour operations manager for Toucan Tours in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and also was a safety diver there and led spelunking tours before retiring in 2001.
“I moved here because the city and the people were relaxed and pleasant. It looked like the Mayor and City Council were watching over the peoples' well-being,” Wagnon wrote in his application. “I am not indebted to any special interest group. I am interested in only one group…the People who pay the city taxes and fees. My only concern is that they get a good return on their money and a good quality of life.”