Message from City Manager Michael Ortega

Hope this finds you well.  I realize that may sound odd with all we have going on in the world today, but please know my sincere wish for you is that you and yours are doing well…

I want to address you all again today as our unprecedented situation is constantly evolving and we are having to adjust our way of doing business daily. As many of you know, Mayor Romero on March 17 exercised emergency powers to close dine-in services and some businesses in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We are making many changes to how we provide service to protect both you and the public.  I appreciate your patience as these ongoing changes occur.

Each of the departments have stepped up to do incredible work during this challenging situation. Your directors continue to provide amazing leadership and our Emergency Operations Team is meeting seven days a week to ensure that we have up-to-date information to make critical decisions regarding operations and supplies.

One of my/our biggest concerns is the stress and uncertainty COVID-19 is causing many of you. Please make every effort to take care of yourself and your families. If you need to be home to care for yourself or a family member, we have provided the leave to make that possible. Remember, you have access to the Employee Assistance Program, LifeCare, and other benefits. You can email questions and concerns to citymanager@tucsonaz.gov where staff from my office and HR are standing by to answer.  As always, you can send your notes directly to me, but I must warn you that it may be a bit longer than usual before I can respond. We will continue to post the latest information from our community partners and our departments at tucsonaz.gov.

Through the work and leadership of the M&C and our prudent financial decisions, of which you have played an important role over the past several years, we are in a positive financial position to help get us through this situation.  This will be difficult, particularly from a financial standpoint, but we have given ourselves a little breathing room.

As an organization we have assembled an amazing team of hand picked department directors that will assist in leading us through these uncertain times.  I am confident in the team and that includes each and every one of you. We will work together and make sure the team remains strong. 

It is important for me to reiterate a few thoughts you might have heard from me over the past nearly five years (yep, hard to believe we are coming up on five years together).  We have been challenging ourselves as an organization to be nimble, flexible, innovative, and creative to deal with situations as they arise.  It is time for us to put that training and preparation to work.  I know we have the ability to get through this and all of us will play a role.  Please prepare yourself to possibly help in a different way.  Your role in keeping this community safe and functioning is as important as ever, and I encourage you to embrace this calling and continue to do your part.

We have rallied around One City, One Team, and now we join with our community in this difficult time as Mayor Romero articulated - Somos Uno, We are one.  Many years ago I heard the saying “Great teams aren’t great all the time, they are only great when they have to be.”  This is our time.  Take care and see you around…