AMWUA Board of Directors Leads Through Collaboration
By Warren Tenney
With foresight and an understanding of the water challenges that life in the desert can bring, mayors from Valley cities gathered to discuss water issues 50 years ago. They then formed a unique and innovative partnership – the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). Over time it would become a collaboration of ten member municipalities working for the common purpose of safeguarding water resources in the Valley.
AMWUA provides a forum for its members to share information and evaluate water issues of importance to them and to reach consensus on issues through discussion and debate. Proposed positions and policies are usually developed through a committee process involving the Technical Advisory Groups involving water resources advisors, conservation specialists, and communication and finance staffs, the Management Board comprised of the utility director or a deputy city manager, and the Board of Directors which is comprised of mayors and councilmembers representing our ten municipalities. The Board of Directors is the policy-setting body for AMWUA and they champion shared, long-term vision, planning, and policy for water management.
AMWUA is fortunate to have a board of elected officials from each city who are engaged and informed on water issues. This enables them to come together and work collaboratively for what is in the best interest of all involved. This cooperation is also significant in that each board member shares that vast water knowledge with their fellow councilmembers within their own municipalities. This better ensures that all elected officials are up to date on relevant and vital water issues and policies. This AMWUA board structure is innovative and has united the cities with the common goal of working together for the betterment and sustainability of our communities and collective economy.
The AMWUA Board of Directors that provides that key guidance and leadership is comprised of:
THE HONORABLE EDDIE COOK (PRESIDENT)
Councilmember of Gilbert
Eddie Cook serves on the Town of Gilbert Council since 2011. He has served as the Vice Mayor and Councilmember. He currently serves as the President of the AMWUA Board of Directors and has served on the AMWUA board since January 2013.
THE HONORABLE CATHY CARLAT (VICE PRESIDENT)
Mayor of Peoria
Cathy Carlat took office as Peoria’s first female Mayor in January 2015 and was re-elected in 2018. She has served on Peoria City Council since 2005, where she was elected three times. Mayor Carlat has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since January 2015.
THE HONORABLE KEVIN THOMPSON (SECRETARY/TREASURER)
Councilmember of Mesa
Kevin Thompson was elected to the Mesa City Council in August 2014, Councilmember Kevin Thompson began his first term representing District 6 in January of 2015. Councilmember Thompson has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since November 2015.
THE HONORABLE LAUREN KUBY
Vice Mayor of Tempe
Lauren Kuby was voted to the Tempe City Council, her first elected office, in August 2014. Vice Mayor Kuby has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since January 2015.
THE HONORABLE W.J. “JIM” LANE
Mayor of Scottsdale
Mayor W. J. “Jim” Lane served for four years on the Scottsdale City Council in June 2004 and began his first term as Mayor in January 2009. He began his third term in January 2017. Mayor Lane has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since January 2009.
THE HONORABLE SHERI LAURITANO
Councilmember of Goodyear
Goodyear Councilmember Sheri Lauritano was elected to her first full four-year term in March 2011 and was elected to serve as Vice-Mayor from June 2015 to June 2017. Councilmember Lauritano has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since August 2018.
THE HONORABLE RENÉ LOPEZ
Vice Mayor of Chandler
Vice Mayor René Lopez has lived and worked in Chandler for more than nine years. He began his first term on the Chandler City Council in January of 2015. Vice Mayor Lopez has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since January 2017.
THE HONORABLE CURTIS NIELSON
Councilmember of Avondale
Curtis Nielson was elected in 2018 to serve as Councilmember on the Avondale City Council. His four-year term began in January 2019. Councilmember Nielson has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since April 2019.
THE HONORABLE BART TURNER
Councilmember of Glendale
Bart Turner was elected as a councilmember for the City of Glendale in January 2015 and was re-elected for a second term. Councilmember Turner has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since December 2014.
THE HONORABLE THELDA WILLIAMS
Councilwoman of Phoenix
Councilwoman Thelda Williams has served on the Phoenix City Council since 2008 and previously from 1989 to 1996. She was sworn in as Phoenix’s 60th Mayor on June 11, 2018. She also served as Mayor in 1994 and 2011. Councilwoman Williams has served on the AMWUA Board of Directors since February 2012.
The AMWUA Board of Directors, along with all the levels of city staff including management, water resources, conservation, communication and finance that come together around AMWUA’s boardroom table are dedicated to ensuring reliable, sustainable water supplies for generations to come. This follows the original vision of Mayor Milton Graham of Phoenix, Mayor J.J. Taylor of Mesa, and Mayor Bud Tims of Scottsdale who formed AMWUA back in 1969 to coordinate on water-related issues and planning. After all, water does not flow according to political jurisdictions so collaboration and cooperation on water policy issues are vital for the common good of us all.
For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.
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