“I wasn’t really out there pushing to look,” Tapp said.
“But this job came up . Somebody sent it to me. [I thought to myself] ‘Wow it’s really a good fit for what I do, what my history’s been.’”
Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson, CAAG chairman of the regional council, said he was surprised to hear that Tapp, who put in his notice Monday, Aug. 13, was leaving.
Tapp said during his time there he was a “team player.”
“I consolidated the operations, did some reduction in overhead expenses and really tried focusing on creating a good team environment here at CAAG.”
Chairman Jackson said Tapp is an enthusiastic employee, having set the organization on a firm course for success.
“I think Brian (Tapp) has done a great job of trying to set CAAG on a path for financial sustainability over the next 10 years,” Jackson said. “I know we’ve got some programs that needed to have some new life brought into them. He’s done a great job of trying to create that sense of synergy there.”
Former employees didn’t necessarily agree and a longtime CAAG employee didn’t like Tapp’s decision to eliminate jobs in upper management almost immediately after coming on board.
“If you’re gonna make changes, it just seems like it’s good to get the feel of the organization before you start making those changes,” the employee said of Tapp, a Gilbert resident who reportedly made $110,000 per year.
During Tapp’s tenure, a $630,000 grant was lost that had paid for a youth job training program. (It maintains an adult program.) According to the law, the youth program has to go out for a proposal every couple years
“The adult money has always just been passed through from Gila County to CAAG,” the staff member said. “Gila County’s a grant recipient for both Gila and Pinal counties.
So, Gila County’s always administered it for the region.
They just passed the money through to CAAG for the adults but they had to RFP out the youth. That’s according to law. For years, close to 40 years, no other agency in the region has administered the youth program except for CAAG. This year was the first real competition that they got.”
Now Central Arizona College, partnered with Gila Community College, put together the proposal and applied for it. They won.
“That’s a big hit to the budget,” the employee said.
Tapp said it was “kind of disappointing” to lose the 42-year program.
Another former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said there was an excitement among the staff when Tapp came on board.
“Not that anybody was unhappy with the way CAAG was and the way we were working, but you’re always kind of like, ‘It’s exciting to do new things and maybe explore new options. That was the way it was in the beginning.”
Tapp had a lot of “different ideas,” the staff member said.
After awhile, those ideas became confusing.
Tapp, who hails from Peoria, Ill., but grew up in Iowa, explained that CAAG is a “very dynamic, changing organization based upon a lot of good change. There are a lot of opportunities that I see.
“There are a lot of people who care. There are a lot of people who want to see it advance, but they also want to make sure that the voices of the Pinal County side and the Gila County side are heard.
It's not just coming from our friends to the west of us, Maricopa County, driving all the stuff.”
The mission of the Central Arizona Governments is to provide effective planning and model programs which offer creative solutions to the unique needs of Region V, Gila and Pinal counties.