Thomure on tap to be next Tucson city manager

The Tucson City Council may not have to look far or wide to find a replacement for outgoing City Manager Mike Ortega.

The Council is set to discuss appointing Tim Thomure as the city’s next top administrator at their meeting next week.

Thomure has been the deputy city manager since January 2023, after working for three years as an assistant city manager. Prior to that he ran Tucson Water for five years.

Council members are set to discuss picking him to replace Ortega during a closed-door executive session at the beginning of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. study session.

Ortega announced his upcoming resignation last month, having served more than eight years as city manager. He arrived in 2015 and immediately had to help guide the city through Sun Tran strike, steer through the end of budget crunches and deal with the city’s underfunded public safety pension fund. He has since had to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a housing shortage and help guide the city toward an internal green revolution.

He said he would leave his position once the budget for next year is set, saying “it’s just time” to move on from the post.

The Council typically takes the final votes on a fiscal year budget near the end of June.

City officials, including Thomure, didn’t immediately respond to the Sentinel’s requests for comments.

Tucson has historically not had to search exhaustively for new city managers. Richard Miranda and Mike Letcher were working for the city when they were promoted to the top executive post. Mike Hein was Marana’s town manager and Ortega was the top bureaucrat in Cochise County prior to taking over in Tucson.

Unlike some previous vacancies in the city manager’s chair, Tucson’s mayor and Council have the opportunity to review their options well ahead of time. Ortega provided months of notice, while some recent managers have been fired or suddenly resigned.

Rather than conducting a months-long search, with various committees interviewing candidates for the job, the Council seems poised to accept Ortega’s clear preference and pick Thomure as the next manager. The current manager has been positioning his deputy to take over for years, adding layers of responsibility to his duties.

The next manager will be met with a variety of issues: how to provide more homes, figure out whether to take part in the next Regional Transportation Authority’s funding plan, deal with a flow of legal asylum seekers as federal assistance remains sketchy and head off a budget crisis by fiscal year 2026.

Thomure graduated from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1994 and first worked for the city of Tucson in 1999 as an environmental inspector. He was hired by Omaha-based HDR Engineering in 2007, working in Arizona and New Mexico before returning to run Tucson Water in 2016.