Cynthia Seelhammer

Professor of Practice
DTPHX Campus


BA English Saint Cloud State University

MPA Golden Gate University



Summer 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 420Managing Across Boundaries
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 420Managing Across Boundaries
PAF 530Mgmt of Urban Government
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 523The City and County Manager


Fall 2020 teaching PAF 523 Spring 2020 AA for PAF 200 and URB 300

Taught local government at the China University of Public Administration and Law, Beijing, China, summer of 2015, through ICMA-China.

PAF 523

AA for PAF 200 and URB 300


AWARDS - 2019 Networking Award from Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership program, May 2019


- 2017 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Civic Leader Award, statewide recognition for exemplary public service to Arizona and the country, named in honor of Gabe Zimmerman, director of community outreach for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who lost his life while serving the citizens of Arizona.


- 2012 Professional Excellence Award, named for Jack DeBolsky, for demonstration of the highest level of professional excellence in local government from the Arizona City/County Management Association - 2010 Arizona City/County Management Association Outstanding Assistant City/County Management Award, in recognition of leadership, commitment to enhancing the profession, and ethical performance.


- 2004 ASPA Superior Service Award in Management category from the Arizona Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.


- 2004 Global Award from the Arizona World Affairs Council for outstanding long-term participation in hosting US State Department international visitors. - Queen Creek received top grades in the Valley Forward Urban Form Report Card 2004, a measurement of quality of life in the Phoenix area that found Queen Creek ranking ahead of all cities and town in the Valley under 50,000 population, and in the top three of all cities overall. - Credentialed Manager designation achieved May 2003 from International City/County Management Association.


- 2002 Alumni Leadership Award, College of Fine Arts & Humanities, St Cloud State University


- Desert Peaks Award - Maricopa Association of Governments award for intergovernmental cooperation in recognition of the success of the agreement between the Towns of Queen Creek and Gilbert regarding revenue sharing and annexation boundaries (2000).


- Desert Peaks Award - Maricopa Association of Governments award for regional program excellence for intergovernmental cooperation in recognition of the success of the former Williams Air Force Base into Williams Gateway Airport (1999)


- Silver Circle Award - City and County Communicators and Marketing Association for citizen participation process in design of the new Queen Creek Youth Center (1998)


- Governors Award of Excellence in Rural Development for Queen Creeks Citizen Leadership Institute to educate residents on Town issues (1997)


- 1st Place - Arizona Planning Association for Queen Creeks new Subdivision Ordinance (1997)


- Silver Circle Award - City and County Communicators and Marketing Association (1992) for educational program on disaster preparedness for La Mesa, California


- CTM Award - Toastmaster International (1990)


- 1985 Award of Merit - District 5, IABC for Speech Writing


Published Works: two nonfiction books, The Growth of Sherburne County and The St. Paul Experiment, numerous nonfiction newspaper and magazine articles; first work of fiction published March 1998 in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Professional Associations

- Northern Arizona United Way Board of Directors, 2013  2018. Campaign Chair 2015-16.


- Valley Forward Association (now called Arizona Forward), member of executive board of directors, 2006-2010; 2017- 2018.


 - Sierra Ancho Wilderness Unitarian Universalist Association, 100-acre church camp, Trustee 2009 to present


- Valley of the Sun United Way, Member of Campaign Cabinet, 2009-2010.


- Arizona City/County Managers Association (1994-present); served as Director on ACMA Executive Committee (1997-1999, 2000-2003, 2008-2010).


- International City/County Management Association (1984 to present) * Taught local government at the China University of Public Administration and Law, Beijing, China, summer of 2015, through ICMA-China. * ICMA International Committee Member, 2006-present. Attended Committee meetings in the US, Ireland, India, Dominican Republic, Israel, and Japan. * ICMA Conference Planning Committee member for 2009 in Montreal; and the Arizona Host Committee for 2012 in Phoenix. * Selected to serve on ICMA task force on First-Time Administrators (1997-1999) * ICMA study tour by International Committee to Ireland, Dublin area, (April 2007); Bangalore, India (February 2008); Sendai, Japan (2012): Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2017); Israel (2018) * Spent day on professional exchanges with Shire Manager in Victoria, Australia (November 1995); with Vice Mayor of Perreux, France, (September 1996); and with staff of the City of Wismar, Germany (July 2012). Also work-related professional travel to learn about local government in Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Thailand, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Mexico, Spain, Costa Rica, China, and the Dominican Republic. * Presidents Advisory Council, Chandler-Gilbert Community College (member 2002-2006 * Arizona Council for International Visitors (previously member and volunteer for San Diego Visitors Council and Minnesota International Center) 1989 to present * Hosted US State Department visitors, housed foreign visitors, and coordinated tours and educational sessions regularly both through my work and for home visits. Visitors were sponsored by the US State Department and included people from other countries studying US elections, health care systems, agriculture, women in leadership, local democracy, and cultural diversity. They came from many different countries, including Morocco, Mali, Senegal, Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, Uruguay, France, Sweden, Germany, Georgia, Poland, Hungary, and Iran. Hosted US State Department sponsored exchange students from various countries. - Queen Creek Kiwanis Club (1994 to 2004) - Toastmasters International (1984-1994, responsible for starting four clubs in six years)



Language immersion program, 40 hours classroom and two-week experience at Cemanahuac language school in Cuernavaca, Mexico (May 2004); again, in Salamanca, Spain (September 2007) Graduate of Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University - Cambridge, Massachusetts (June 1998) Mediator - trained as a mediator through San Diego Mediation Center (October 1991) Completed 12 credits toward second Master's in Liberal Studies/Creative Writing - Hamline University, Saint Paul, and Michigan State University (1989-1991) Rotary Exchange Student to Finland 1976 Educational Scholarships/Honors Flinn-Brown Fellow, Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Program, Phoenix, AZ, 2015- 2016 Chosen by ICMA and ICMA-China to teach local government at the China University of Public Administration and Law in Beijing the summer of 2015. CLAIR Fellow to Japan, November 2009, sponsored by Japanese Council of Local Authorities for International Relations. · Presented on Phoenix best practice “Managed Competition in Solid Waste” at India MegaCity Conference on solid waste management, Bangalore, India, February 2008. · McCloy Fellow, chosen by the American Council on Germany to study urban affairs in seven German cities, October 2005. · Credentialed Manager designation achieved May 2003 from International City/County Management Association, and renewed each year since, · Assigned to work in Levoca, Slovakia, in October 1999 through the International City Management Association Manager Exchange Program, supported by USAID. · Completed Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government Summer 1998. · Attended Clarion Workshop for Writers, Summer 1992, Michigan State University. · Graduated from Valley Leadership Class VIII, one of 45 people selected in 1986 to attend the prestigious year-long Phoenix leadership and issues training program. · Recipient of a 1980 MECCA Media Fellowship at the University of Denver, one of 20 recent college graduates selected from throughout the county to receive a full fellowship for the summer-long conference teaching business and economics to reporters.

Work History

TOWN OF TUSAYAN, ARIZONA (Town of 580 located at the south rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.) Interim Town Manager (October 2019  July 2020) Oversaw all day-to-day operations during a difficult year when home rule and one-time override of the state imposed spending limit failed. Budget was cut to $1.4 million from previous $20 million.


CITY OF AVONDALE, ARIZONA (City of 80,000 located west of Phoenix, along Interstate 10. City has 700 employees and a budget of $180M.) Interim City Manager (February  July 2018) Oversaw all day-to-day operations, including adoption of the annual budget, hiring of department heads, and numerous policy issues. Assisted with recruitment and hiring of permanent city manager.


COCONINO COUNTY, ARIZONA (Second largest county in the United States, measuring more than 18,000 square miles, with a population of 140,000, located in north central Arizona. It includes Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, and a large portion of the Navajo Nation.) County Manager (August 2013  January 2018) Direct and manage all County operations and oversee departments of Public Works, Community Development, Public Health District, Emergency Management, Community Services, Adult Probation, Finance, Information Technologies, Parks and Recreation, and Government Relations. Under the director of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, coordinate work of the Courts, Sheriff, Treasurer, Recorder, and Assessor. Total annual budget of Coconino County is $230 Million, and it employs 1,200 people.


CITY OF MARICOPA, ARIZONA (City of 45,000 located in Pinal County, south of Phoenix, surrounded by the Gila River and Ak Chin Indian Communities.) Interim Assistant Town Manager for second time (January 2013 -July 2013)


CITY OF GLOBE, ARIZONA (City of 7,800 located in Gila County, northeast of Phoenix, surrounded by federal lands.) Interim City Manager (August  December 2012)


CITY OF MARICOPA, ARIZONA (City of 45,000 located in Pinal County, south of Phoenix, surrounded by the Gila River and Ak Chin Indian Communities.) Interim Assistant Town Manager and Community Services Director (December 2011  June 1, 2012)


TOWN OF TUSAYAN, ARIZONA (brand new town at the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park with a population of 600.) Interim Town Manager (November 2010  April 2011)


WORK PRIOR TO RETIREMENT: CITY OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA (Phoenix is the capital city of the state of Arizona with a population of 1.5 million and an annual budget of $3 billion. It is the largest city in the country with the council-manager form of government, and the City won the prestigious Carl Bertelsmann award for being the best-run city government in the world.) Deputy City Manager / Interim Director Water Services Department (February 2009  March 2010) One of six Deputy City Managers working in the office of the City Manager as the City executive team to oversee 25 departments, 10 major programs, and 14,000 employees. Due to a hiring freeze, I was asked to manage the Water Services Department of 1,400 employees who provide all water and wastewater services to the City and much of the region. Water Services Department annual budget: $278 million, and $1.5 billion five-year CIP. Retired in March 2010. Deputy City Manager / City Council Chief of Staff (May 2008- February 2009) As part of a regular rotation programs, Deputy City Managers in Phoenix spend a year managing either the City Council staff and offices or the Mayors Office, as Chief of Staff. Responsibilities included oversight of all staff and HR functions, recruitments, training, and terminations of staff; and assisting with policy development with the City executive team. Deputy City Manager (June 2006  March 2010) During my first two years with Phoenix, my responsibilities included management of the departments of Information Technology, Finance, Purchasing, Budget and Research, Solid Waste and Recycling, Landfills, Facilities Maintenance, Vehicle Maintenance, Historic Preservation, and the Family Advocacy Center. Other projects included leading the citywide Sustainability Task Force. Departments were regularly rotated among the Deputy City Managers.


TOWN OF QUEEN CREEK, ARIZONA (Queen Creek was a new, rural community located southeast of the metropolitan Phoenix area. During my time as Town Manager, the population grew from 2,000 to 20,000, and the budget grew from $2 million to $157 million. The Town is still known for its progressive growth policies, high-quality development, and many award-winning innovations.) Town Manager (January 1994 to June 2006) First full-time Manager for newly incorporated community. Directed and managed formation, hiring, policies and the work of all departments, including Human Resources, Community Development, Public Works, Management Services, Parks and Recreation, and Town Clerk. Prepared community for growth, ensuring all plans, ordinances and fees were in place. New home construction reached more than 125 per month. Town staff grew from 2 FTEs to 180 FTEs during first 12 years. Negotiated and coordinated contracts and Intergovernmental agreements with adjacent cities and counties for shared services and mutually beneficial projects, including shared employee benefits, sheriffs services, Flood Control District projects, operation of Williams Gateway Airport JPA, court services, road maintenance, landfill operations, and wastewater treatment. Recruited, selected and managed all Town staff, consultants and contracts. Oversaw all Town personnel and benefits programs. Represented the Town at regional councils, Williams Gateway Airport JPA , and other state and regional agencies.


CITY OF LA MESA, CALIFORNIA (La Mesa was a council-manager city with 54,000 residents and a budget of $40 million) Senior Management Analyst Office of the City Manager (September 1991 - January 1994)


CITY OF SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA (Saint Paul was a strong mayor city with 260,000 residents and a budget of $235 million) Management Assistant Department of Finance, Joint City-County Purchasing Office (March 1991 - September 1991); Assistant to Saint Paul Mayor James Scheibel (March 1990 - March 1991); Assistant to Saint Paul Mayor George Latimer (May 1989 - January 1990)


CITY OF MESA, ARIZONA (Mesa was a council-manager city with 290,000 residents and a budget of $250 million) Assistant to Library Director for Fiscal and Personnel Management (April 1988 - May 1989); Public Information Specialist Office of the City Manager (August 1984 - April 1988)