May 062015

*Brian Richards

Photo by Naomi Hatch

Snowflake Town Manager Paul Watson congratulates his successor, Finance Director Brian Richards, who was appointed to the post on April 28 and took over the reins three days later.

By Naomi Hatch

The Snowflake Town Council was unanimous in its approval of Finance Director Brian Richards as the new town manager following a lengthy executive session held April 28. He succeeds Paul Watson, who has taken a position with Navajo County as assistant county manager with emphasis on economic development.

Richards is a 1986 graduate of Holbrook High School. He received a degree in accounting from Arizona State University in 1993. He obtained his Certified Public Accountant’s license in 1996 and became a Certified Public Finance Officer in 2007. The town has employed him for the past 18 years as finance director.

“We went over a lot of issues and will continue working with Paul in his new role in economic development with the county of Navajo,” said Mayor Tom Poscharsky, “but I feel we have an obligation to try to do what’s best for the town, especially in the current economy.”

He then moved to appoint Richards as town manager, subject to negotiating a one-year contract with him, with the idea that if everything works out, they will offer a multi-year contract. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilman Stuart Hensley thanked Watson for his efforts and the many things he’s started regarding economic development.

“He’s (Watson) done a great job for the town,” said Vice Mayor Kerry Ballard, noting has he worked with several town managers during his time on the council. “He’s one of the best we’ve worked with. I’ve really enjoyed the friendship and the kindness.”

Mayor Poscharsky reiterated the same, stating, “I’m sorry to see Paul go. I really think a lot of the things will come to fruition and, hopefully, he’ll be involved with a lot of them that he’s been working on for a long time,” noting that we are all dependent on the economy coming back.

“I think it’s been a historic day with all the changes that are happening,” said the mayor.

“I’m looking forward to working with Brian (Richards),” said Poscharsky. “I think we have a great council here and everyone is willing to pitch in.”

“I do want to say that I have truly enjoyed the time working here and the support of the council. It is a huge factor for anybody in this seat to have a council that is, one, focused on what they want to do and how they’re going to get there… and two, I received nothing but positive comments and I appreciate that, I really do,” said Watson. “If there’s one thing I still have a passion for, it’s the economy.

“Snowflake is a community that is positioned well due to industry and infrastructure. If I can help achieve that, it’s been a great success for me,” said Watson.

“What amazes me is how everyone can have such a different style and still be very effective. Paul’s style is very complimentary to people; he’s very open to listening to people’s point of view. I think one of the reasons Snowflake’s legal bills are as small as they are is because Paul is very discerning,” said Town Attorney Bob Hall.

“Another great thing about Paul is he’s able to calm the water, listening to people, being able to see their point of view.

“I’ve never seen a community stretch the resources like we do ours,” said Hall, complimenting Richards and his service as the town’s finance director.

Watson’s last day was April 30, and he began his new job with the county was May 4.