DOUGLAS — After serving the past 18 months as Douglas’ city manager, Jerene Watson returned to retirement July 17.
Through the International City/County Management Association, Watson came out of retirement in January 2019 to help lead Douglas through a “transitional stage.” She was initially hired as the interim city manager, and six months later had the interim tag removed.
City staff held a retirement sendoff for Watson July 16 at the Douglas Golf Course where several community and city staff members, as well as her mother, Colene Tracy, shared some stories about Jerene.
“How many of you city employees have received emails from Jerene at midnight, 1 a.m. in the morning and again at 5 a.m.,” Dawn Prince who is succeeding Watson as Douglas’ city manager asked? “Jerene has tirelessly led us and took us on a pace that has moved us along. We are extremely grateful to her.”
Prince stated that when she was first contemplating getting into city administration it was suggested that she get in contact with Watson who sold the community so much that Prince thought it was too good to be true.
“I took Jerene up on her offer and you know what? It’s exactly the way Jerene described it,” Prince said.
Tracy described her daughter as a wonderful person who is a true professional, optimistic, conscientious, wise, unassuming and full of Christian love and compassion.
“Her voice will no longer be heard in this office but her spirit will be,” Tracy said. “It’s ingrained in those who she has trained as well as those who have watched her do her job.”
Douglas’ Management Services Director Luis Pedroza thanked Watson for her support and guidance.
“I really admire the work effort and ethic you put in to get the best out of us,” he said. “Through your leadership I have learned a lot about myself and I have been able to accomplish a lot more things than I thought I could.”
Even though she is relocating back to Oro Valley, Watson said she will still return to Douglas periodically for a visit.
“From the outset I have loved every moment of my time here,” she said. “You all have changed my life for the better. I want to thank this community for the kindness and warmth shown towards me. You made me feel welcome.”
In addition to Douglas, Watson has worked in the communities of Goodyear, Oro Valley, and Flagstaff.