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Chris Zapata not selected for Chandler city manager post Allison K. Sampite | Tue, May 10 2011 04:00 PM


Last month, National City, City Manager Chris Zapata was one of five finalists out of 60 considered for the city manager post in Chandler, Ariz.

Zapata said he applied because he wanted to help the city realize its "great vision" as well as be closer to his family.

For now, that vision will have to be focused on National City.

The Chandler City Council in Arizona discussed the terms of a contract for the city manager position Monday during the closed-door meeting and negotiated an employment contract with Interim city manager Rich Dlugas, who was selected for the position.

Chandler spokeswoman Nachie Marquez said the council narrowed the finalists down from five to one last week and said the others were notified about the decision.

Despite the decision, Zapata said he is not disappointed. "The key thing is that Chandler has a very good situation and I understand and respect the decision," he said. "National City is really a very good place ... There's a lot of work I've got to do."

Last month, National City Mayor Ron Morrison said he and the council support Zapata's efforts. "We don't want to lose Chris but you don't fault people for looking at the market," he said. "There's full support for Chris and the city council has conveyed that to him."

Dlugas served as the interim city manager since last June and has been the assistant city manager since 2002.

Zapata is currently in the last year of his contract with National City and earns $165,000.

Zapata grew up in Eloy Ariz., and prior to working in National City, was the deputy city manager for Glendale. During his time there, he helped develop the city's proposal, which secured the University of Phoenix Stadium. He also formerly worked in the Arizona communities of Glendale, Superior, Eloy, Phoenix, Goodyear and Flagstaff over a 25-year period.

The Chandler city council will vote publicly on the city manager position Thursday at their regularly scheduled city council meeting.


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