By Chase Kamp
The Superior Town Council approved the hiring of K. Kane Graves to serve as both town manager and town attorney at its meeting on Jan. 17. The move comes after the dismissal of former town attorneys Chris Wencker and Chad Niven, who had served their roles for about two years.
Graves previously worked a similar dual role for the City of Globe, serving as the town manager and attorney for the Gila County city for five years.
The hiring of Graves also shifted the title of Rita Wentzel, who was appointed interim town manager in early 2012. Wentzel will now be serving as finance director and town clerk.
In addition to his work in Globe, Graves previously served as the Prescott city attorney for seven years and the Show Low attorney for five years.
In an interview with the Superior Sun, he said he implemented a team approach to balance the budget in Globe, and he plans to do the same in helping Superior get back in the black.
“My talent is in team leadership and coordinating people to accomplish a goal,” Graves said.
“We were successful in digging out of a hole in Globe. I hope to do whatever I can here to achieve a similar result.”
Among his first priorities is to update the city code to better guide Town purchasing and fill in the gaps, a duty he performed for Globe. “Only once we have that platform can we move on in an orderly fashion,” he said.
Graves aims to heal Superior’s budget woes by collecting payments owed to the town, addressing issues with sanitation services and generating new revenue sources, he said.
“I’m not saying we’re raising taxes,” Graves explained, but efficiencies and opportunities in the various departments will be explored.
Fixing dilapidated buildings and reviving the downtown area is another of Graves’ goals in his new position.
In serving a dual role in Globe, Graves said it was an advantage to an attorney and know municipals laws and limitations when negotiating with other entities and making decisions.
“You know what you can and can’t do,” he said. “It worked out to be a good model because in both roles I could advise and manage at the same time.”
Mayor Jayme Valenzuela said the council made a decision that he hopes will straighten the town’s fiscal ship. “Hopefully things will move forward,” he said. “We had a lot of issues at the beginning of this year that we needed a professional to handle. We need good sound advice and I think Mr. Graves will provide that for us.”
Graves said every town in American wants what Superior wants: efficient government, economic security and a good business climate.
“Through a cooperative and coordinated team approach, it’s the only way we’ll get there,” he said.