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Safford assistant city manager candidates meet community

SAFFORD — Two applicants for the position of assistant city manager, both with 20-plus years’ experience in local government, met the community Wednesday evening at the Safford City Annex.

“I enjoy this line of work,” said John Schempf, who decided to unretire soon after stepping down as Clifton’s town manager in 2015.

Schempf said he had gone to California afterward, then returned to Arizona.

“This is my home now, in Arizona, and I look forward to continue serving the public,” he said.

Schempf emphasized his experience with municipal budgeting, saying budgets were the most important factor in local government, with strategic planning a close second.

“I’ve done a lot of budgets, and I know the trouble you can get into,” he said.

John Cassella, who currently lives in Virginia, said his more than 20 years’ experience included 16 years in Arizona: eight in Sierra Vista and eight in Goodyear. Cassella said he was responsible for Sierra Vista’s budget, and his duties in Goodyear included financial modeling, revenue projections and building a personnel model.

Safford City Manager Horatio Skeete held interviews for the position Thursday. Skeete said five of the 20 applicants were chosen for an interview, but three of the five had dropped out.


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DPS investigates two-vehicle highway crash

GRAHAM COUNTY — A two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 191 Tuesday afternoon sent one driver to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a white 2018 Chevrolet Silverado had stopped in a highway construction zone at milepost 141 (approximately two miles north of “The Straight”). It was approximately 12:30 p.m., and the Silverado was in a line of vehicles waiting for a pilot truck to escort drivers through the construction zone.

The Silverado was then struck from behind by another northbound vehicle, a white 2016 International Flatbed truck driven by Dwayne Allen Salcito, 55. Salcito reportedly said he had a medical issue and was unable to stop. He steered his vehicle to the left (the highway was restricted to one lane, so there was no oncoming traffic) before colliding with the Silverado.

The Silverado spun clockwise and was pushed into a guardrail. Its driver, Thomas McCallum, 45, of Safford, was transported to Mount Graham Regional Medical Center by Lifeline Ambulance. His status was unknown as of Tuesday night. A passenger, Karla McCallum, 36, of Safford, reportedly said she was unhurt. The Silverado was removed by Nutcracker Towing.

Salcito’s truck came to a rest in the middle of the highway and was removed by Nuttall’s Towing. Salcito reportedly suffered a small cut to his arm. He was cited for speed not reasonable to avoid a collision.

The Graham County Sheriff’s Office and Safford Fire Department assisted DPS at the scene.