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City's Durkin appointed to vacant PCC board seat

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City's Durkin appointed to vacant PCC board seat

  • Kynn Bartlett/Wikimedia

Martha Durkin, deputy Tucson city manager, has been appointed to fill an empty seat on the Governing Board of Pima Community College, replacing longtime member Marty Cortez, who announced her resignation in late June.

Seven people, including Durkin and two former failed candidates, as well as retired college staffers, asked to be appointed to fill the seat. Two later withdrew their applications.

Durkin served as interim city manager of Tucson for about a year, until Mike Ortega took over on July 1. She is a former general counsel for Tucson Unified School District, a position she held for two years. Earlier, she worked in the city attorney's office from 2004-2011, including nearly four years as chief deputy city attorney. Previously, she worked in Pima County government for two decades.

Those who applied for the PCC post were:

  • Cecilia Cruz, neighborhood activist and retired city administrator
  • Martha Durkin, deputy city manager and former Tucson Unified School District attorney
  • Richard Fridena, retired PCC instructor and administrator, PCC board candidate in 2012
  • Luis Gonzales, ex-state senator and former South Tucson city manager
  • James Mielke, retired PCC instructor and ex-track and cross-country coach for the Aztecs
  • Jim Murphy, retired head of the Pima Council on Aging, former City Council member and Pima County supervisor and ex-assistant county manager
  • Francis Saitta, former adjunct instructor in math and biology at PCC, candidate for PCC board in 2012, TUSD board candidate in 2014

Murphy and Saitta later withdrew from the screening process.

Cortez announced in late June that she was resigning for personal reasons after two decades on the college's board, representing District 5 in Tucson's Midtown and West Side.

First elected in 1994, Cortez was reelected four times; her last election, in 2012, was to a term that runs through the end of 2018. She did not specify a reason for her resignation.

Her temporary successor was appointed by Pima County School Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian, with another election to be held in 2016 for the remaining two years of the term.

The five candidates were interviewed Saturday by an advisory committee, with Ana Valenzuela Estrada, Yolanda Herrera, Phil Lopes, Mark Hinrichs, Alec Moreno, Mays Imad, Don Harp and TUSD's H.T. Sanchez questioning the prospective board members.

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