MPA Alumni Spotlight: Mary Jacobs '89

July 23, 2020
Mary Jacobs '89

Mary Jacobs earned both a BA in Political Science and an MPA from University of Arizona, degrees that helped lead her to a career in city management. Mary is currently the Oro Valley Town Manager where she serves as the chief administrative officer of a community of 43,000 in the Tucson metropolitan area. A full service organization, Oro Valley has nearly 400 FTE’s and a total annual budget of $143 million.

Prior to her current position, Mary served as the Assistant City Manager of Sierra Vista, Arizona for over 17 years where she functioned as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. She supervised all non-public safety operational departments, constituting a wide span of functions to include the library, leisure and recreation, planning, building inspection, fleet and facility maintenance, engineering, capital planning, wastewater, refuse, transit, and the airport. She also oversaw the economic development, intergovernmental relations, and marketing and public affairs functions for the City. Mary also spent six years as the Assistant Town Manager of Barnstable, Massachusetts on Cape Cod and several years working in professional and managerial positions for Maricopa County, Arizona.

Mary is an active member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and served on its Executive Board from 2012-2014. Also a member of the Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA), Mary was elected to the Board of Directors from 2003 – 2008 and served as President during her tenure. She is actively engaged in state and national efforts to prepare and advance women in local government leadership positions. In 2009, she was honored as the recipient of the prestigious ACMA Catherine Connelly Award for Outstanding Assistant City/County Manager.

From 2011-2014, Mary was appointed by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to serve on the national Wildland Fire Executive Council as the official representative of the National League of Cities, a body established to oversee development of a national cohesive strategy on wildfire mitigation and management.

Mary serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Arizona Supreme Court, a program that appoints trained volunteers to assist children in the foster care system. She previously volunteered for the Cochise County Juvenile Detention Center where she focused on providing mentorship to young women. She also volunteers her services to non-profit organizations to assist them with strategic planning. Mary grew up in Tucson where her parents and many family members still reside. She has one daughter, Rachel, who attends Loyola University Chicago.