The city of Glendale has found its new assistant city manager.
Former budget and finance director Vicki Rios replaces Rob Sweeney, who served as interim assistant manager since March. Sweeney assumed the role after previous Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing left in January.
Rios will serve alongside another assistant city manager, Chris Anaradian.
“I am excited and will be working very closely with (City Manager Kevin Phelps) and the city council on any issues related to the departments I will oversee,” Rios said. “I will also be working closely with him on many other issues and citywide projects and initiatives.”
As assistant city manager, Rios will lead five major city departments: community services; human resources; innovation and technology; public facilities, recreation and special events; and budget and finance.
She will manage a $119 million budget and 272 full-time employees.
“(Rios) has consistently demonstrated that she has the expertise, values and leadership needed to help lead Glendale,” Phelps said. “She is a strategic leader with a wealth of experience managing complex departments and projects within large organizations and we are fortunate to have her as part of our Glendale team.”
Phelps said Rios’ proven leadership in finance and other areas will add to the city manager’s department, and that she was the perfect choice among over 170 applicants.
“Rios is a proven leader who brings a strong background in finance, an in-depth knowledge of our organization and a passion for improving the city and the community including her experience with the city of Phoenix as deputy finance director as well as various roles in Peoria,” Phelps said.
“She brings a wealth of experience managing complex departments and projects within large organizations.”
Since assuming the role of budget and finance director in May 2016, Rios has been in charge of helping create the now nearly $750 billion budget and helping the city reach its goal of having a $50 million contingency.
She said while she is excited to start assisting Phelps with numerous city projects, financial stability remains one of the key issues she faces.
“Maintaining the city’s financial stability is No. 1,” Rios said. “That as well as improving citizen engagement and their customer service experience, as well as addressing the city’s infrastructure needs.”
Phelps added that Sweeney was a great bridge after Duensing left the city in January.
“(Sweeney) has been terrific, and he led the efforts for us to modify and enhance our audit program,” Phelps said. “I have asked Rob to stay on for awhile longer to help as we are making that transition. He was brought in to help keep things moving forward while we went through a more than three-month recruitment process.”
Rios will continue to work closely with the budget and finance department, and Phelps added that he has appointed Lissette Camacho as the department’s interim director to ensure a smooth transition.
“Budget and finance does a fantastic job and there is a solid team in place to continue the important functions that are expected daily,” Phelps said.
“However, we expect all our departments to continually improve, so (Rios) will assist budget and finance in this goal.”
Rios said Camacho is a perfect choice to replace her, and she hopes to ensure a smooth transition the way Duensing assisted her when she took over budget and finance.
“Camacho will do an excellent job as the interim budget and finance director, and I expect to work closely with her and her team,” Rios said.
“I learned a lot (from Duensing) when he was finance director and while he was assistant city manager. He is a wonderful leader, and I am honored to follow in his footsteps.”
Rios has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California — Irvine, as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate in accountancy and a Master of Business Administration from ASU. She is a certified public accountant and a member and past president of the Government Finance Officers’ Association of Arizona.
Rios has been a Glendale resident for 34 years and has been married to her husband, Rafael, for 38 years.
Together, they have four children and eight grandchildren.