By Joyce Coronel
Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny has a new title to add to his name: President.
The one-time Arizona state senator has been selected to serve as the League of Arizona Cities and Towns’ leader for the next two years.
The news landed during the organization’s annual conference held recently in Scottsdale. Tibshraeny succeeds Mayor Mark Mitchell of Tempe in the position.
“I am very passionate about the work that the league performs on behalf of Arizona’s cities and towns, and I look forward to taking on this leadership position in the coming term,” Tibshraeny said.
“I think the main thing is we’ll beef up the work at the legislature so that we continue to have a strong voice there,” Tibshraeny said. “I’ll spend a lot of time doing that. We’ll work on building those bridges and relationships.”
That will be familiar territory for Tibshraeny, who served for eight years as an Arizona state senator beginning back in 2003.
During the last legislative session, Tibshraeny said the league worked on public pension reform. “That was a very successful effort. We ended up with a ballot measure that the public voted on.” Arizona voters passed the league-supported Proposition 124 in a landslide vote May 17.
This year, the league will be digging into construction and sales tax matters, Tibshraeny noted.
“We’re looking at that issue and how there’s folks on both sides . . . It’s a significant revenue source to all cities and towns throughout the state, so we want to preserve that so we can fund the critical services that we provide for our public.”
The tax issue is complicated, he added, but the resources funded include fire, police, public safety and public infrastructure.
“Cities do have their own codes. The state has their code, so simplification is always a good thing,” Tibshraeny said.
“I’m more interested in preserving that revenue source and leaving the authority with the cities that they currently have, but if there’s way that we can work with the state to simplify things, we can do that also.”
As both mayor of Chandler and president of the league, he’s got a balancing act to perform. Tibshraeny represents Chandler, but now also the 91 cities and towns throughout the state, as well.
Tibshraeny said his plan is to “work hard to reach out to the governor’s office and to bridge any gaps I can there.”
Last March, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1487, a measure that withholds shared revenue from cities and towns that are found by the Attorney General to have violated state law.
The league opposed the measure, and in a letter to Ducey signed by then-vice president of the league Tibshraeny, called it “heavy-handed and intrusive,” adding that it “minimizes the important role of local elected officials.”
“We would like to see it repealed,” Tibshraeny told Wrangler News.
Elected to serve a two-year term as president, he said he’s looking forward to his new role with the league.
“We represent a lot of people in this state—six million people.
“We are a voice for our citizens.”
He’ll still be at his downtown Chandler office every day but will spend some of his time at the league offices near the Arizona Capitol complex.
“I’ve never been shy about working hard and doing what I need to do,” Tibshraeny said.
“I’ll continue to work hard and will just have longer days.”
The league, formed in 1937, promotes local self-government and municipal independence and provides assistance to local governments.