A DAY IN THE LIFE: Behind the scenes with the new city manager
Michael Lamar took over as the Prescott city manager on Oct. 10 and has had a couple of months to settle into a routine. This is the first in a series of articles that focus on a day in the life of newsmakers.
Wednesday, Jan. 4
6:30 a.m. — Michael Lamar, 44, City Manager for the City of Prescott, gets out of bed and prepares for work. He greets his wife, Deanna, his 11-year-old daughter, Edie, and his English bulldog, Georgia. He consumes a hearty breakfast of coffee and orange juice and is out the door.
8 a.m. — Arrives at Prescott City Hall. The first 30-to-45 minutes are spent with Dana DeLong, Prescott’s City Council clerk, to set the agenda for the following week’s council meeting.
9 a.m. — Meets with the city’s department heads to discuss any potential issues they might have with items pending on the agenda.
11 a.m. — Meets with the chairman of the Arizona American Legion Riders. The local organization is requesting to use the City Hall’s parking lot on a future Saturday for a large meeting. “Over the course of any day, there are random requests,” Lamar said.
Noon — Skips lunch to work on various tasks, such as responding to emails, of which there were about 60 of relevance by the end of the day. “With a wife and child at home, I try to work through lunch a lot so I can get home at a reasonable time,” Lamar said. To manage this, he keeps a lot of snacks stocked in his desk.
1 p.m.—Discusses departments with staff. “We’ve had three department heads transition out of the organization since I’ve been here,” Lamar said. “I’ve been trying to find ways to not add bodies, but utilize the people I have to meet service demands.”
3:30 p.m. — Meets with reporter from The Daily Courier newspaper.
4 to 6 p.m. — Walks to Prescott Public Library and hosts open office hours for anyone in the public who wishes to talk with him. Lamar does this the first and last Wednesday of every month. “It’s something I did in the community I was before,” Lamar said. “I think that people sometimes feel there’s a disconnect between the managers at city hall and the public, so I’ve always tried to be as transparent and approachable as possible.”
6:30 p.m. — Returns home, eats dinner with his family, surfs the web for news, and goes to sleep.
This is just a peak into Lamar’s existence. It is far from all he does in his personal life and as the manager for the City of Prescott.
For instance, what this information doesn’t tell you is his daughter is adopted from China; or that he regularly goes hiking with his family; or that he tries to do yoga after work as often as he can.
“My wife says I come home more balanced and easier to be around,” Lamar said in regards to the yoga.
The brief timeline also doesn’t tell you what is going through his mind from day-to-day concerning the challenges and tasks that are ahead regarding his position as a public official.
Being the manager of Prescott, he pretty much needs to know what is going on everywhere within the city at all times. To some, such a responsibility might sound unpleasant. To Lamar, it’s a pleasure.
“I don’t get bored,” Lamar said. “It’s not like making widgets. And at the end of the day, I’ve always been somebody who cares deeply about the people who live or work around me.”
The cherry on top: he believes he is relatively good at what he does.
“I’ve always sort of been a generalist,” Lamar said. “I have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of stuff. When you’re a full service city, you do things all the way from fight fires and run police departments to run water systems and to some trash pickup. I have a decent knowledge of all the services that municipalities provide.”
One of the areas he particularly prides himself in from his previous experience as a city manager in Georgia is economic development.
“That’s something here I want to spend more time on with,” Lamar said.
If you’d like to know more about Lamar, he invites anyone and everyone to visit him during his bimonthly office hours. He can also be reached by emailing Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or calling his office at 928-777-1380.
Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105, or 928-642-7864.