Duensing leaving city post

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Staff Writer

Tom Duensing

Five years after joining the city of Glendale as the director of finance and technology, current Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing announced his resignation.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have tendered my resignation to (City Manager Kevin Phelps) effective Jan. 18, 2019,” Duensing said in a letter to council. “I have accepted a position at the city of Tempe and look forward to working in the community in which I have lived for over 32 years.”
Duensing, who was instrumental in the city’s financial turnaround over the past few years, is returning to Tempe to become Deputy Internal Services Director – Finance.
“I will be overseeing accounting, customer services, facility maintenance, risk management, procurement and sales tax licensing operations,” Duensing said. “The timing is just right for me both personally and professionally.”
When Duensing joined the city in 2013, the budget was in disarray and he was primarily responsible for identifying the long-term plan for turning around the city from near financial ruin as well as getting a $50 million fund balance.
Prior to joining Glendale, Duensing worked in Tempe and Maricopa for more than 18 years in various positions, including accounting supervisor, deputy finance director, city auditor, finance director and assistant city manager.
When he joined the city of Glendale, it had been experiencing a declining financial position since 2009, followed by a series of bond rating downgrades. He helped foster changes, including new policy direction and a strict savings plan which has resulted in the financial turnaround.
The city also received bond rating upgrades from Moody’s in January 2016 and April 2017, and from Standard & Poor’s in March 2016.
As one of his successes, Duensing said, “I would say being part of putting this city on a positive financial trajectory and addressing significant employee turnover. Also, working on relationships with external stakeholders as well as getting this city on a goal of getting a $50 million fund balance goal, which is projected to be done by June 2020.”
He was hired as assistant city manager in February 2016. Since that time, he has assisted Phelps with most financial plans and changes to city processes and goals.
“Being part of the implementation of the city’s strategic plan was one thing I wish I could finish before I leave,” Duensing said. “This is extremely important to the employees providing services to the community and I wish I could have completed that.”
He added that while he is leaving, he enjoyed all aspects of the job.
“Over the past five years, I can honestly say that my team and I have given 100 percent to the residents, businesses, and employees of Glendale.  However, I have received much more in return, both personally and professionally,” Duensing said. “The two areas in which I take the most pride were addressing the significant financial challenges and addressing the employee compensation/turnover issues. What this city has accomplished in my time here is incredible.  It is because of your leadership that the issues have now turned to setting our strategic direction and fine tuning our financial stability.”
Joining the city during rough times, Duensing is credited with turning the city around and getting it on task for a strong future, but he will miss all aspects of the city.
“I will miss the friendships made and the feeling of accomplishment by me and others in this organization. I started working in Glendale in a tumultuous time, and the things this city has accomplished over the past five years is extraordinary,” Duensing said. “The employees and council have been so supportive, and more important, appreciative. Professionally, the past five years have been challenging, to say the least; however, I would not change the experience gained for anything.  I am very lucky to have worked here.”
While he was quick to point to his successes, he said he will look back at his time in Glendale with pride.
“One of my biggest pet peeves is a “Monday morning quarterback,” and I try to not live in the past, only learn from it,” Duensing said. “Could I have done things better? Certainly.  Do I have regrets? Absolutely none.”
Duensing has earned several credentials; he holds a B.S. in accounting, an M.B.A., and is a certified public accountant. In addition, he is a member of the Arizona City/County Management Association, the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona, the Government Finance Officers Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
He also serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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