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Tenure slated to begin August 1
By Walt Mares
CLIFTON – The deal has been done and Heather Ruder will indeed be Clifton’s new town manager.
The news about Ruder actually accepting the job was confirmed in a June 26 town news release. Prior to that, at its June 14 regular monthly meeting, the council learned that Ruder had made a verbal commitment to join Clifton. Councilor Ray West, who had been assigned to negotiate with her, said he had received the commitment from Ruder.
He said he was confident that Ruder would sign on with the town.
The June 26 news release read, “Now that all of the Is have been dotted and the Ts crossed, the town of Clifton would like to formally announce Heather M. Ruder is aboard as the new town manager. The Town Council and staff are excited to welcome Heather on her first day Aug. 1.”
She fills the position made vacant by the departure of Ian McGaughey, who has taken the town manager’s post in Somerton, Arizona. He had been with the town for two years and his resignation became official at the end of May.
Ruder was among 26 people applying for the town manager’s job. After reviewing candidates’ resumes, the council whittled the number down to three. It was announced at a Friday, June 8, open public meeting that Ruder was the council’s top choice. While the seven-member council voted unanimously for Ruder that did not mean she automatically became town manager.
In early June, two sources not affiliated with the town went public with news that Ruder had been hired by Clifton. Mayor Luis Montoya told the Gila Herald that he was disappointed with the two sources as nothing was yet final with Ruder’s hiring.
Montoya said on June 12, that there were still some issues to be finalized. That included a background check, a contract review by the town’s legal counsel and the actual signing of the contract. Yet another key issue was whether Ruder would even accept the job.
The mayor also said, “Nothing is final until the contract is signed by both parties,” He added that any word about Ruder actually becoming town manager was pure speculation.
Ruder is a native of Hawaii and relocated to Tucson, where she earned a BA degree in civil engineering from the University of Arizona. In December she will be receiving her MA degree in public administration from Northern Arizona University. She has worked for more than 18 years in the public and private sectors. At present, she works with the Pima County Parks and Recreation Department.
Ruder has not been available for comment.