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Sedona’s city government recently added the position of assistant city manager to give City Manager Eric Levitt a little support.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona’s city government recently added the position of assistant city manager to give City Manager Eric Levitt a little support.

Alison Zelms was hired by the city to assist Levitt in dealing with the city’s individual departments and to free Levitt up to look at bigger issues facing Sedona.

According to Zelms, her new duties will entail supporting Levitt as well as the city council and staff by attending council meetings and working with the public.

Levitt eliminated the assistant city manager position in September 2003 when he recognized a need for an assistant public works director. When this position was created, the assistant city manager spot was cut.

Now, need for the position is fueled by an increased workload created by departments reporting directly to the city manager’s office.

Zelms moved from Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago, where she was the city’s management analyst for more than three years. This position made Zelms responsible for Evanston’s city budget.

Looking to switch gears, Zelms applied for the opening in Sedona.

“I was looking to move back into the city manager’s office,” Zelms said.

Prior to working for Evanston, Zelms was the assistant to the city manager in University Park, Texas. Currently, Andrea Costello holds this position in Sedona, which is more project-oriented.

Zelms has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s in public administration from Augustana College, in Rock Island, Ill.

Her father served in the U.S. Air Force, so she moved all over the world as a child, which, she said, has given her extensive experience.

Sedona was appealing to Zelms because she wanted to be in a small town — Evanston has a population of approximately 74,000 — and because of the close relationships with the public and City Council fostered by that atmosphere.

The city’s government was also enticing.

“It’s known for being a very good government,” Zelms said.

Zelms’ first day was Oct. 16 and she said she is currently working to build strong working relationships with staff, elected officials and the community.

She hopes to support the city in achieving its overall goals as it matures.

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