Continuing its efforts to improve and streamline services, the City of Globe recently hired a pair of employees assigned to critical posts, as both Globe City Council and administrative staff prepare for the future.
The City’s Economic and Community Development Department—formerly the Economic Development and Development Services Departments—recently brought aboard a Grants Manager and a Deputy Building Official to help bring in funding for ambitious projects and to update and modernize Development Services, which will include updating Globe’s building codes to align with current national standards.
“I’m excited with the direction we’re going,” says ECDD Director Linda Oddonetto. “Everyone’s expectations are higher now: The public, City Council, and developers. It’s expected that the city is going to deliver a high-quality project, service or event, so we need to have the tools in place to make that happen.”
Among the “tools” Oddonetto refers to include a municipal workforce equipped with the most up-to-date skills with a vision for the future that includes modern infrastructure, economic diversity, and a better quality of life for residents.
In order to help fund future growth, Oddonetto tagged Connie Callaway, a Miami High School graduate who has traveled the world only to return to the region where she grew up.
Callaway was born in Japan to an Air Force Master Sergeant who relocated the family to the Globe-Miami area to take care of his wife’s mother.
She says she was moved here “kicking and screaming,” but after several years away Callaway returned to become the EAC GEAR UP Coordinator at Globe High School for 15 years, where she also helped write and manage grants.
Before returning, though, she had two children and spent many years working with the United States Navy, gaining experience, in part, by working with the Navy’s Blue Angels Airshows, which she compares to the project management aspect of grant funding.
“In my experience with grant writing, I learned that you can use all the right buzzwords, but if you’re not effectively answering the very specific line items for the grant, it’s not going to be funded,” she says. “I feel a very personal responsibility to the citizens of Globe and the surrounding area to make sure that I’m doing an effective job in order to bring these much-needed dollars to this community.”
Callaway’s children are GHS graduates—her son is now a teacher in Avondale, and her daughter works in the financial industry in the Valley—but she believes growing up in a small, rural community has given them an advantage in the wider world.
“I believe every student from a rural area learns a certain skill set,” Callaway says. “They’re hungry and go the extra mile, and I also believe the staff at the City of Globe have that in them. They go the extra mile, and I look forward to being part of that momentum.”
In order to effectively manage grants, Callaway will need collaboration and buy-in from every department, and so far she appreciates the can-do attitudes of her fellow employees, which will help in the long run during a time when grants play a major role in municipal funding.
Once that funding comes in though, there needs to be a sufficient workforce to maintain grant obligations but also to maintain other services Globe’s citizens have come to expect.
“In regards to grants, we needed a staff focused solely on identifying funding opportunities, aligning them with identified City priorities, writing and managing the grant,” Oddonetto says. “With the amount of federal dollars coming down the pipeline in the next five years, all the departments have to be ready to be competitive for these funding opportunities. Every City Department is focused on teeing up strategic, ‘shovel-ready’ projects that are application ready. ”
The City has prioritized several capital improvement projects (CIP) as well as short- and long-term initiatives and priorities that have been identified in the council’s Strategic Action Plan.
Among those priorities is to improve current infrastructure, such as sidewalks and parks, but also to prepare the infrastructure for future development of the Northeast corridor along State Route 77 to the Gila County Fairgrounds.
In order to facilitate future expansion and manage a changing municipal landscape, the City hired Tony Manfredi, a retired Phoenix firefighter who is now a Globe resident to be its Deputy Building Official.
Manfredi’s top priorities over the first months of his tenure are to streamline the permitting process, including forms, online access and payment options, and to update building codes that are about 20 years out of date.
“With building comes opportunity: Our process will be modern and user-friendly. I would like to encourage permitting and not use it to hamper a project,” he says. “With housing for people, we’re bringing in revenues by attracting professionals, such as healthcare workers, doctors, lawyers and food industry people. It brings all of that to our city, with an opportunity to support our residents’ quality of life.”
Manfredi brings years of experience and a deep knowledge of the necessity of modern building codes and best practices.
His most recent job was as a building inspector for Gila County, but during his 30-year career as a fireman in Phoenix, he performed hazardous material inspections and worked with the Department of Homeland Security as a terrorist liaison officer.
He originally moved to Globe to retire and enjoy the recreational opportunities the region provides, but his sense of community service eventually led him back into the local workforce. Oddonetto met Manfredi after he spoke eloquently during a meeting for the Hill Street School project.
“I feel like I’m a servant at heart and I always will be,” Manfredi says. “I feel like I’m supposed to do something and I’m glad to be in a position where I can make a difference here and improve the town somehow.”
Expansion of the ECDD comes at a time when the City of Globe is strengthening its workforce across the board in order to implement its Strategic Plan and prepare for the future. There is a direct line between development and economic diversity that will help maintain a level of service and support new lifestyles in the 21st century.
Councilmember Freddy Rios understands the importance of the need for that diversification, as he grew up in San Manuel and was there in 2002 when BHP Billiton shut down the mine and laid off more than 2,500 workers in one day.
He also believes that the COVID pandemic as well as recent natural disasters have brought into stark relief the need to diversify.
“I’m adamant about economic development and creating a community that can be self-sustained after my hometown went from riches to rags because the mine picked up stakes and left,” he says. “Let’s create those other avenues and amenities that will keep us self-sustained. We have to be prepared for any situation.”
Rios does not expect mining to ever leave the area, but believes growth can be more sustainable if there are more opportunities in the local job market.
In order to do that, the City needs to provide sufficient amenities to be a regional draw, as well as a sufficient workforce to maintain a good level of service.
“This is not something that we just came up with, it’s been talked about in previous councils and this council has prioritized this agenda in its strategic plan,” Rios says. “It’s really going to take effort and investment to move the needle on those projects, but the city can’t do it all on its own.”
As a burgeoning department that has only been in existence since 2018, the ECDD has quickly become a focal point in the City’s future, but Oddonetto sees it as just one piece of a large and complex puzzle.
“It’s going to take a team effort to move all of this forward, and the City is building a strong team,” she says. “Having that extra talent in our departments enables us to stay focused, be nimble and move swiftly. We’re planning for our future and planning for success.”
Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.