DOUGLAS — After months of searching, Douglas finally has its city manager.
Former city of Douglas employee Ana Urquijo was unanimously approved by the Douglas City Council at a special meeting Aug. 25. Her start date will be Oct. 18. In the meantime, Luis Pedroza will continue to serve as Douglas’ interim city manager.
Urquijo will be paid a base salary of $135,000 and is scheduled to receive a 5% increase after six months of employment and again at 18 months of employment.
According to her background information, Urquijo is an accomplished local government professional with more than three decades of public sector experience. She began her career as a personnel analyst and operations support supervisor for the state of Arizona. She transitioned her career to be closer to Douglas as an human resource analyst for Cochise County and then to the city of Douglas, where she worked as human resources director and deputy city manager. She retired in 2016 after 24 years and went to work for the city of Tucson, serving in a variety of different capacities over the last five years, one of those being interim assistant city manager.
“We are very excited that Ana has accepted the position of Douglas City Manager,” Mayor Donald Huish said at the meeting. “She served the city well in her tenure here and went on to do amazing things for the city of Tucson. We are confident that her experience and leadership will serve our community well.”
Upon her appointment, Urquijo said: “I want to thank the city council for the opportunity to serve as Douglas’ next city manager. It is an absolute honor and privilege. I am committed to implementing the vision of the city council and working with the community and our talented and dedicated staff to do what is best for our city. I have no doubt that by working together we will continue making progress for the betterment of our community.”
She said she is eager to get started as Douglas’ new city manager, but before she can do that she needs to finish up some projects in Tucson.
Urquijo said that prior to learning the city manager position was still open, she and her husband, Jose, were planning on returning to Douglas to be closer to her parents, Luciano and Martha Gonzalez, as well as other family members.
“I’m so excited to come back in this role,” she said.
“I love this community and am ready to get to work.”
Urquijo said working in Tucson with Mike Ortega, another former city manager for Douglas, has helped her gain a new perspective when it comes to community issues and other items.
Urquijo has continued to remain up to date on some of the challenges Douglas has faced recently.
“Overall, nationwide cities are struggling,” she said. “We need to find a way to maximize the use of resiliency funds, which I see the city of Douglas is already doing while also engaging the community to see where the needs are. I think we have to take advantage of opportunities at the federal level right now as well as the day-to-day needs of our downtown.”
When Urquijo was working for the city, the port of entry expansion project had begun.
“This project has been like a marathon or a relay where the baton has been transferred so many times, but it’s the length of time that (is) required for a major change like that in the community,” she said. “Everyone needs to be consistent and continue pushing. All of the administrations before have done a good job of keeping this issue at the forefront. I’m ready to jump in and help continue that lift.”
Urquijo holds a Bachelors of Science degree in public administration from the University of Arizona and a Master of Arts degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. In addition, she maintains a credentialed manager designation with the International City/County Management Association, is a member of the Arizona City/County Management Association and is also a Certified Public Manager, a designation issued by the state of Arizona and Arizona State University.