To better understand how Tucson’s governance structure compares to the structure in comparable cities, we undertook two types of research:
First, we found publicly available government information on eight fast-growing, western cities.
Second, we conducted a more intensive comparison of the roles of the mayors and city managers in Tucson and Phoenix. We chose Phoenix as a basis for comparison because it is considered one of the best run cities in the world.
In 2001, a report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government named Phoenix “America’s Best Run City.” Additionally, Phoenix operates in the same statewide political and cultural environment as Tucson.
Moreover, in the 20 years from 1990, Phoenix had one city manager, while Tucson had seven. With this high turnover and resulting lack of continuity in government, it is no wonder that Tucson city government has found it more difficult than Phoenix city government to implement the goals and values of its citizens.
We understand Tucsonans don’t want Tucson to be like Phoenix. But it might be highly desirable to couple the goals and values of Tucson citizens with the effectiveness of Phoenix government.