Larry Tarkowski partially retired in mid-January after more than 30 years of service to the Town of Prescott Valley. He plans to begin his full retirement in mid-May, he said.
Initially the interim town manager, Tarkowski was appointed town manager in 2004. Prior to that, he served as public works director beginning in 1989.
Tarkowski, 68, saw the community grow from a “rural pass-through” to what is now the largest incorporated community in Yavapai County, with a population approaching 50,000.
Tarkowski had considerable administrative authority for many PV projects including: construction of a well-planned paved road and street system, modern water system, a wastewater treatment plant and Town Hall complex. During his tenure, dozens of retail and commercial centers, an event center, a new hospital and community parks and recreational facilities were built.
Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta said: “His leadership has positioned Prescott Valley well for the future. It also helped mold the area into a community we all love.”
In a press release Tarkowski said, “I want to thank the more than 35 elected officials and hundreds of employees and team members who have all embraced the concepts of passion, dedication and customer service. These encouraged the beginning of this humble town into the robust community we have become.”
Tarkowski said he focused upon a long-term vision for Prescott Valley, which included pursuing an aggressive program of sustainable infrastructure development.
He was honored by the PV Chamber of Commerce as Citizen of the Year in 2002. He received the Prescott Valley Heritage Award in 2015.
Tarkowski said successes he enjoyed were a consequence of “being embraced by fabulous people who have chosen to work for the town and to live here as engaged neighbors.”
A native of Manistee, Michigan, Tarkowski moved to Arizona in the mid-1970s, when he worked as a construction manager in Flagstaff. It was after that he relocated to Prescott Valley.
He and his family plan to remain in Prescott Valley, where he said a priority will be on teaching his grandchildren to ski.
A nationwide search for a permanent town manager will be conducted, Palguta said.
In the meantime, Deputy Town Manager Ryan Judy is taking over Tarkowski’s responsibilities. He has been a PV employee since 2004. From Utah, Judy has a degree in political science and international relations from Utah State University and a master’s in public administration from Brigham Young University.
Photo: Taken at the top of Glassford Hill Summit Trail built in large part by Larry Tarkowski. Photo by Gail Reffert.