Municipal government

Former Manistee resident ends successful career in city administration

MANISTEE – Children growing up in smaller rural areas like Manistee County sometimes wonder if they have the tools to get out and leave a mark in the world.

Former Manistee resident Larry Tarkowski is living proof that not only can they leave their mark, but that they can do so because of the great foundation they received during their formative years in this domain.

On January 15, Tarkowski completed a 31-year career in municipal government in Prescott Valley, Arizona. This mandate also includes the last 16 years as general manager of the community.

During this time, he made his mark in local government by being part of a team effort that has seen this community grow from a population of 8,000 to over 50,000 today.

“It was exciting to be a part of the growth here and the beautiful thing about it is that the community and the elected officials had a vision and they wanted to be an economic dynamo,” Tarkowski said. “They spoke with one voice. We have been quite successful, so it has been an exciting and very rewarding career. “

However, Tarkowski’s story began many years ago in Manistee as he grew up like many children today who dream of moving on to great things in their lives.

Tarkowski is a 1970 graduate of Manistee Catholic Central and the son of Laverne and Barbara Tarkowski, of Manistee. He said these Manistee roots helped him on his career path.

“I feel very lucky to have gone to Catholic Central because the education I received there was exceptional,” Tarkowski said. “I know my classmates were tight and it was based on great shared experiences and that acts as a launching pad for people to do what they wanted to do. We had a great preparation for growing up in Manistee, Michigan. “

He then continued his education at the University of Michigan and, in 1989, began his life in Prescott Valley, which included a family and two sons, and his career in city government for more than three decades.

Tarkowski said earlier this month he was looking forward to his retirement, but he enjoyed his career in Arizona. He said what made it enjoyable was the fact that the local government and elected officials were all on the same page.

“The people of the community chose elected officials who would all pull in the same direction and cause economic growth in the community,” Tarkowski said. “So as a staff we were very lucky to have people who put their egos aside and did what was best for the community. As a result, we went from a community of 8,000 to 50,000. ”

Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta said in a press release that Tarkowski’s leadership has helped build the community there is today.

“Larry has been a mainstay of the town of Prescott Valley for over 31 years. His leadership and vision have helped make Prescott Valley the community we all love and appreciate, ”he said. “His knowledge and progressive thinking will surely be missed. On behalf of the Town of Prescott Valley, I want to congratulate him on an incredible career and wish him happy retirement. “

Tarkowski said there have been many highlights in his career, but the trip to London, England on behalf of the community certainly stands out. Prescott Valley was honored for its water and effluent program at the 2008 Water Accord of the Year at the Global Water Intelligence Conference.

“To be recognized internationally for what our organization has done was certainly a good thing,” said Tarkowski. “We basically built a sewer system and a water supply system in the community.”

He said they also did some exciting things with the area’s parks and ended up building a 5,000-seat arena that served the minor league hockey and basketball teams.

“More recently we had the Phoenix Suns (National Basketball Association) minor league team that has since been purchased by the Detroit Pistons and they will now be playing in the Detroit area,” Tarkowski said. “We have some amazing concerts going on there that have also helped build the community.”

He is a member of the American Public Works Association and has served as president of the Northern Arizona Chapter. He was also a member of the American Water Works Association and the International City / County Management Association.

Tarkowski has been recognized for his work throughout Arizona as a member of the Governor’s Water Management Commission and was chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments. He was also chairman of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Board and a founding member of the Northern Arizona Water Users Association.

In 2002, the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce presented him with its Citizen of the Year Award and the Prescott Valley Heritage Award in 2015.

Tarkowski said he plans to stay active in the Prescott Valley community for years to come, but in a different way.

“Retiring from the public service is what I intend to do, but I have a number of things that I will continue to focus on because I am not the type to stay behind,” he said. he said, “So I look forward to a number of new chapters in my life. It is an exciting time.”


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