After more than a decade of leading the city, Mayor Christian Price orchestrated his last meeting as Mayor of Maricopa Tuesday night.
The meeting itself was uneventful – a couple of zoning changes, some land use issues, and the usual procedural items. But everyone in the large crowd at the meeting knew what the significance of the night was.
Price has guided Maricopa as mayor since taking office in January 2012. He is leaving to head the Maricopa Economic Development Agency, a group charged with bringing business and industry to Maricopa – familiar ground for Price.
He took office when the city had a population of about 20,000 and leaves a decade later with the burgeoning city swelling to 65,000. His colleagues on the council expressed their gratitude for his efforts in a video put together by the city and played at the end of the meeting.
Council members were asked to sum up Price and his tenure in a single word. Most found that nearly impossible.
Councilmember Rich Vitiello said, “Wonderful man, great husband, great father, great mayor. The best mayor ever that I’ve met. He’s been a great friend and he’ll be missed dearly there, but he won’t be forgotten.”
Amber Liermann, serving her first term as a councilmember, said Price has been a mentor.
“Mayor Price has a contagious passion for Maricopa and its growth and success,” Liermann said. “Thank you so much for giving me opportunities to grow as a leader I Maricopa. I appreciate your support and your ability to communicate your vision and your passion for this community and sharing that with other people so we can all work together to make this the best place to live in America.”
Councilmember Bob Marsh was one of the few who were able to distill their impressions of Price to a single word – he chose charismatic – but then had more to say about the outgoing Mayor.
“Who would have figured 11 years ago this tall, smiling, HOA board member and professional financial planner could lead our city from a population of 20,000 to 70,000, and could lead our city council to be a political force in this state. Thanks, Mayor Price, for all you’ve done for Maricopa and all you’re going to do over the next decade.”
Nancy Smith, who served as vice mayor last year, said she saw a bold individual when she first met Price.
“He’s non-stop, and you have to keep up with what he’s doing,” she said. “But behind the scenes, what you don’t realize is that when he’s at home he’s taking telephone calls, when he’s at the city he’s taking telephone calls, he’s meeting with people. It’s a great reflection of his love for the city of Maricopa. One thing I love about him and love watching is his commitment to the city of Maricopa and you see that in all areas of everything he does.”
Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi, who will serve as mayor until the council chooses Price’s replacement, narrowed his view of price to two words – optimistic or resilient.
“But I’m going to go with resilient,” Manfredi said. “He just keeps going, no matter what happens, when it comes to transportation or issues with the city, and he’s always going to put forth a huge effort when it comes to getting things done. The guy has given 100 percent to the city of Maricopa for the past 10 years. I’m proud to have known him as a friend before he was elected, proud to know him as a friend when he was elected, and I’ll be proud to know him as a regular citizen out there out there working to help the city of Maricopa.”
Councilmember Henry Wade chose “loyal” as the word to describe Price and his tenure.
“He is loyal to the people around him, loyal to us councilmembers, loyal to the community, loyal to his family,” Wade said. “Yeah, I’d say loyal. We’re going to miss you Mr. Mayor. I look forward to hearing about and seeing the things you’re doing to do for the city. I think we’re lucky to continue to have his services in this other capacity. I think it’s going to be a good partnership for everyone around. And if you tell him I’m going to miss him, and I love him, then he’s just going to have to re-run the tape.”
Price himself summed up his tenure at the helm of the city succinctly, saying, “It was the honor of a lifetime.”