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Born and raised in New York, Ginny Dickey and her family chose Fountain Hills in 1983 as their hometown. A bit ironic, because at that time it wasn’t yet a town.

Regional Profile: Mayor Ginny Dickey
Hometown Is Where Her Heart Is

RegionalProfile, RegionalCouncil

Born and raised in New York, Ginny Dickey and her family chose Fountain Hills in 1983 as their hometown. A bit ironic, because at that time it wasn’t yet a town. But that didn’t stop Dickey from immediately becoming active in the community. 

Mayor Dickey and her husband, Jim, in Pompeii, Italy.“I moved to Fountain Hills in 1983, and in 1984 we had our first town hall. And everyone sat down together to figure out, what do we want to do? After that, I increased my participation.”

She started with her kids’ schools. 

“When we first moved here, my oldest wasn’t even in kindergarten yet, but somehow I ended up on the PTA board. That led to serving on different committees in the school district, and the natural progression was that I ran for the School Board in 1996, serving until 2002. Then, these town halls turned into a real strategic planning process, and I continued to get more deeply involved.”

Holding a degree in mathematics from Tufts University, Dickey’s career includes banking, bookkeeping, teaching, working as an Arizona Senate staffer, and serving as an Assistant Director at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. She says her unusual mix of creative and technical abilities comes primarily from her parents. 

“My father was an orthopedic surgeon, as well as a painter and sculptor. My mom was a violinist for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic back in New York. So, it was music all the time, art all the time. The math, well, I guess that was something I came by on my own.”

Ginny Dickey (third from right) performs in a 1987 production of Godspell.Dickey used her financial and leadership skills to continue to benefit her hometown, which incorporated in 1989. She was active in community theater, becoming a charter member of the Arts Council and serving on the Theater Board as treasurer and accountant. She earned the 2009 Founders Award and performed in several AriZoni winning productions. 

Dickey served for eight years on the Town Council before being elected mayor in 2018. One of her toughest political fights was changing to a single contract to handle the town’s waste management needs. 

“We don’t have utilities here, so everybody had their own trash collections. Six days a week, there were trucks going down every street, there were bins always out, there was noise and wear and tear on the streets.” 

Her efforts led to a recall attempt. But Dickey prevailed, and now collections occur only a few times a week, neighborhoods are quieter—there is even curbside recycling. “It’s made a huge difference,” she says.

Mayor Dickey brings the same deep love for her community to elected office as she did as a resident.

“I take these responsibilities very seriously. I always have. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s a privilege and an honor to serve. I’ve done it in voluntary ways all my life, and feel fortunate to be able to continue this way as Mayor.”

Mayor Dickey enjoys spending time with her five children and nine grandchildren.Today, Dickey is focused on finding new funding for roads, public safety, and municipal staff, which face serious shortfalls. 

“There are a lot of reasons for that. Fountain Hills used to have two property taxes in the way of districts. We had fire and road districts. Those went away one at a time,” says Dickey. “Right now we have $200 million worth of roads, without the ability to maintain them.”

Dickey has been frustrated by outside influences in local elections.

“Local elections… it’s really important to keep them local. During our last effort for the property tax, we received a lot of attention from national ideological groups. They don’t dive into why you’re looking for a tax, why you need it. They’re just against any tax,” she says.

The mayor also would like to see the state shift to a system of all mail-in ballots, believing more people would participate. 

In her free time, Mayor Dickey is an avid Arizona sports fan, cheering for the Diamondbacks, Coyotes, and Cardinals. Her secret vice? She loves the Oakland Raiders. She and her husband, Jim, also spend time walking through her community, where she enjoys meeting and speaking with townspeople. She says the most rewarding part of her job is finding out what she can do for them.

Fountain Hills Fountain“Resolving even the smallest issue for someone, like cleaning out a wash by their house or getting a new street sign, improving pedestrian safety or helping businesses with their issues, that’s what I enjoy most,” she says.

In December 2019, Fountain Hills will celebrate 30 years of incorporation, while the iconic Fountain will turn 50 in December 2020.

“We are going to be kicking off a year of activities and celebrations, and everybody is welcome. Keep an eye on what we’re doing and come out and play with us,” invites Mayor Dickey.
With her family still an integral part of Fountain Hills (three of her four siblings still live in the town), Dickey hopes residents find the same fulfillment.

“I want this community to be as important to all the residents that I feel it is for us, that they are making their memories and that this is their hometown.”

Published October 29, 2019

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