PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council announced plans last week to appoint Assistant City Manager Jeff Barton as the successor to City Manager Ed Zuercher, who is retiring.

The council voted on the move during its Wednesday meeting.

"It is wonderful to have an internal candidate who not only has the skills, but also has the passion for the important work we’ve undertaken as the nation’s fifth largest and fastest growing city,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a press release.

“Jeff has spent years learning the city from the inside out. He has been a critical factor in decisions regarding the budget and community investment, and in developing strategy for deploying federal Covid relief dollars during the pandemic and beyond.”

Zuercher announced in late July that he would be stepping down on Oct. 8, when Barton is scheduled to take over, after eight years as the city’s top unelected official.

Phoenix is the country’s largest city with a council-manager form of government. Barton will oversee operations that have nearly 15,000 employees who serve 1.7 million residents.

He’ll move up again after being promoted to assistant city manager in February. He previously served as deputy manager beginning in March of 2020, according to the city’s website.

Prior to that, Barton was the director of the city's budget and research department for five years.

The Pennsylvania native has worked for Phoenix for more than two decades, starting in 1999 as an internal auditor.

"I am thrilled with the appointment of Jeff Barton as Phoenix's next city manager,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio said in a statement. “Jeff brings a background in leadership, a culture of accountability, transparency and strong values.

As city manager, Barton will oversee the auditor, finance, communications, law and government relations departments.

As assistant city manager, Barton was responsible for budget and research, homeland security and emergency management, the city’s response to COVID-19 as well as the police and fire departments.

Zuercher joined the city in 1993 as a management intern and served in multiple roles over his 28-year career.