Northwest NEWS

November 23, 1998

Local News

Bullhead City, Arizona man expected to be named Bothell's new city manager

by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

   BOTHELL--Barring any last-minute hang-ups, James Thompson, Bullhead City, Arizona's city manager, is expected to be named Bothell's new city manager tonight, Nov. 23, according to city officials.

   Mayor Debbie Treen said she expects the City Council to make it official tonight. A contract had yet to be signed by press time that morning, and the council had yet to vote on it, but she believed the parties had a verbal agreement. "I'm very excited," she said.

   "We're looking forward to it," said Thompson. He and his wife and two children vistited the area over the weekend. "Hopefully we can bring some sun up from Arizona," he added. He is expected to start work January 4, according to Treen.

   "I think you'll see a real dynamic individual," said Councilman Mike Noblet. "I think you'll see someone who's a real asset to Bothell and the region. He's a no-nonsense guy--he gets things done."

   Accomplishments Thompson takes credit for in his two-and-a-half years at Bullhead City include developing a 10-year plan to sewer the city, a performance tracking system, and working with the local chamber of commerce and economic development authority to attract industries meeting the city's vision.. In Sterling, Colorado, where he was finance director for six years, then assistant city manager, he helped obtain $4 million in federal grants in three years amounting to 35 percent of the city's operating budget.

   "It's going to be a good ride," said Noblet.

   Thompson, 35, worked in banking prior to becoming Sterling's finance director in May, 1988. He was hired as assistant city manager in October, 1994, then became Bullhead City's city manager in May, 1996. Bullhead City is south of Las Vegas along the Colorado River near where the states of Arizona, Nevada, and California come together. It is a city with a summer population of 30,000 and 55,000 in the winter, and 256 full-time employees.

   Thompson has a Masters in Business Administration from Regis University in Denver, a Ph.D. in Psychology from Lasalle University in Louisiana, and a BS in accounting finance from Indiana University. He was also an owner and instructor of a karate studio in Indiana in the late 1970s and early '80s.

   Treen was impressed with the steps Thompson took to make his budget understandable to the average citizen, as well as his writing skills. "I was really impressed with his efforts to reach the public," Treen said.

   According to Thompson's resume, he implemented a comprehensive customer service program along with a citizen's outreach program that included calendars, a citizens budget guide and handbook, a Hispanic community task force, weekly press briefings, and broadcasts to the public.