“My specialty is relationships,” says Paul Jepson. “Working with state officials, working with federal highway people, working with ADOT, working with our congressional delegation, working with our lobbyists.” Jepson starts work as Globe’s new City Manager on March 21.
Jepson comes to Globe with ten years of experience in the City Manager’s office at the City of Maricopa. He is currently Maricopa’s Intergovernmental Affairs Director. Before discovering his love for municipal government, Jepson taught art and history in Mesa public schools for eight years. He received an Master’s in Public Administration from ASU in 2005.
Having been through five city managers in his ten years in Maricopa, Jepson says, “changing city managers can be somewhat traumatic…I want to keep everybody positive and moving forward and not miss a beat on this.” After former Globe City Manager Brent Billingsley left to become Florence’s City Manager at the end of December 2015, both retired Globe Fire Chief Al Gameros and Globe Public Works Director Jerry Barnes have held the position in the interim.
Jepson explains that although he had a few different titles during his time at Maricopa, “basically I did the same three things. I did high-level special projects for the city. I supported council and their needs, and then I did the intergovernmental affairs stuff—worked with the school system, worked with the county.”
Like Globe, Maricopa borders tribal land and Jepson is proud of the relationships he built with the Ak-Chin tribe during his tenure at Maricopa. “Builders come and go, highway projects come and go, but Maricopa and the Ak-Chin are going to be neighbors for a long, long time. You don’t want to damage your long-term neighbors trying to get short term goals,” says Jepson.
He’s also proud of his work on a high-profile “grade separation” project on SR 347 that he describes as “basically an overpass so that the main highway through Maricopa—347—could go over the train tracks.” Maricopa received 15 million dollars in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funds and 18.8 million dollars from ADOT to support the project. According to Jepson, he worked together with Billingsley on the grade separation, who was Development Services Director at the City of Maricopa before coming to Globe.
Jepson explains that Maricopa’s exponential growth (the population went from about 7,000 to about 46,000 in his time there) provided him with invaluable experience. “It’s kind of like a time warp in seeing all of the different challenges with water and wastewater, with the Arizona Corporation Commission, with transportation. I’ve had kind of a crash course on everything. I think that helps me get ready for Globe,” he says.
“I have my dream job here,” says Jepson.
Autumn Giles is a freelance writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Edible Baja Arizona, Modern Farmer, Punch, Serious Eats, and elsewhere. Her first book, Beyond Canning was published in February 2016.