Citizens line up to volunteer for commissions

“Is anyone here for a job interview?” Mayor David Ortega asked, only half-joking, before a March 7 meeting at City Hall.

“Yes – but not a paying one,” answered one of 20 citizens ready, willing and eager to do free work on six city commissions.

For the next hour, council members repeatedly noted how impressed they were, not just by the size of the field but the level of qualifications and passion the candidates exhibited.

“I am so impressed,” Councilwoman Solange Whitehead said.

“Unbelievably talented candidates,” Councilman Barry Graham agreed.

Councilman Tom Durham, acting as informal master of ceremonies, summed up the city’s position: “I want to thank the individuals for their willingness to volunteer their time and service to the community.”

For free work, it was surprisingly competitive. Each candidate gave a brief statement, with many pitching hard for council votes.


Everyone loves libraries – and, in Scottsdale, many want to be part of the library system.

There were five Library Board nominees for just one position.

Eric Goeld, a 30-year resident, told council, “I’ve always wanted to do some volunteering.”

He has a master’s degree in engineering and extensive experience in the electronics field. Since retiring, he added, he has published four books, “most written in the Mustang Library.”

George Hartz said he is a long-time resident and 10-year member of the board of Friends of the Scottsdale Library.

“I’ve been a lover of libraries my whole life,” Hartz said, pledging to continue making the library “accessible and exciting to residents.”

Enid Seiden said she has lived in the city since 1995 and is retired from Scottsdale Unified School District, where she continues to volunteer “to help support pupil testing.”

She previously served on the Human Services Commission. As a teacher, she “was a huge proponent” of libraries, she noted.

Christine Wilson described herself as a 27-year resident of the city, and also a former teacher. “I have always, always loved libraries,” she said. “The top issue I see today is trying to attract more people to come to the library.”

Gould, Seiden and Wilson received two votes each, forcing a runoff.

And the winner was…well, it took yet another round, with Gold and Seiden getting three votes each in round two.

Finally, Eiden won by a 4-3 vote.


For the Airport Advisory Commission, Sabrina Haverty joined the meeting via video. She said she has lived in Scottsdale for one year–and can see the airport runway from where she lives. She pledged to keep a strong watch over air traffic.

Charles McDermott, the other nominee to fill one vacancy, appeared in person. He is currently chair of the airport commission, an aviation managing engineer and has worked in aviation for more than three decades.

“Scottsdale is experiencing tremendous growth…it is critical for airspace around the airport be protected,” McDermott said.

McDermott was re-appointed by a unanimous decision.

Development Review

There was one opening and one candidate for the Development Review Board. Michal Joyner, a current board member, was re-appointed to review architectural and design plans. Despite a lack of competition, she gave a forceful presentation.

She noted her board’s challenges are similar to council’s: “Citizens have great expectations of us on how they want to live. The developers who come to Scottsdale expect to be treated with kindness and fairness and have their cases reviewed fairly and impartially.”

With looming legislation, Joyner identified a “new threat” to city planning: “State and federal governments seem to want to tell us how we can run our city and how we can build.”

Human Relations

The Human Relations Commission had four nominees for one position.

Marcie LePine described herself as an associate professor at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business who works in human resources. She does research in the area of resilience. So, it should have been no surprise when she identified the top issue facing the commission:

“I see resilience as encompassing stress, well-being and burnout.” She pledged to work to increase residents’ sense of “belongingness.”

Cynthia Romagnolo said that in her work in banking, “I have focused on elevating women’s voices.” She added the challenge of the commission is to share with residents that “despite perceived differences they have more in common than they perceive.”

Marietta Strano, who came here from Kansas, where she worked in the education system, emphasizing collaborations. She also previously taught in China and volunteers at the library. An issue for the commission, she said, “Could be how and when to reach out…to promote better understanding.”

Romagnola received five votes to win the appointment.

Neighborhood Advisory

For one vacancy on the Neighborhood Advisory Commission, there were also multiple candidates.

Nancy Brady moved here from Colorado, where she was a county commissioner. A former auditor and accountant, she said she wants “to make sure policies and procedures meet best standards.” Here, she is an ambassador for Old Town. She identified water conservation as the biggest issue for the commission.

Lee Cooley said he has lived in Scottsdale for 17 years, and has worked in Make a Wish here. He identified finding grants as a crucial goal.

Sheri Lopez said she was a flight attendant for 25 years and “a survivor of human trafficking.” She said she wants to keep “the charm of Old Town” while “making a positive future growth.”

Brady received four votes to take the commission seat.

Parks and Recreation

Two nominees went after one Parks and Recreation Commission opening.

Eric Maschhaupt said as a father he “spends a lot of time in our parks.” He is a software technology professional who said the top issue of the board is to “spend wisely the available budgets.”

Kim Ollerhead said she has lived in the city for 40 years and is a “stay-at-home mom, blogger and influencer” who spends a great deal of time with her child in parks. The biggest challenge, as she sees it: “keeping our parks inclusive.”

Maschhaupt was appointed by a unanimous vote.


Ray Michaels, who worked in the cruise industry for three decades, and Anna Mineer, a hospitality professional whose three-year term on the commission is expiring, were nominees for Mineer’s Tourism Development Commission seat. Mineer was reappointed with six of seven votes.

Veterans Advisory

Four nominees went up for one Veterans Advisory Commission seat.

Roger Day, a Vietnam War veteran and current member of the commission, said many veterans do not know of resources. “We need to help supply that information,” he said.

Joe DuBois said he is a West Point graduate and combat veteran. Through a career as an attorney, he said, “I’ve never lost my passion for veterans.” He stressed supporting female veterans.

Justin Layman also said he is a combat veteran, with multiple deployments before becoming a small-business owner. In a high-energy presentation during which he apologized for being nervous, he said veterans who are homeless and/or have PTSD would be his priorities.

Bethany Schilling said she served in the military for 12 years and had “multiple deployments” and is the wife of a current military professional. Her biggest issue is providing resources to veterans.

“Once again, we have an embarrassment of riches,” Durham said, before the vote. Layman won four votes and the appointment.

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