Flinn-Brown Fellow Cecilia McCollough to serve another term as mayor of Wellton

September 30, 2022

By Jessica Vaile

The Honorable Cecilia McCollough
(Wellton, 2018)


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1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?

I currently serve as Mayor for the Town of Wellton, having been appointed in December of 2014. And then re-elected in 2018. I was originally elected to the town council in the summer of 2009.  At the time, I did not have any idea of the way local government worked. I will start my 4th term in January having been seated in the primary election.  

Our municipality functions under the statutes in Arizona.  We are bound to the structure that cannot be changed in our own power.  

Our community, like many in rural Arizona, has great challenges. We are tackling them as best as possible.  One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the importance of building relationships.  Our community does not have the resources that larger urban areas have.  Our connections with our local, county, and state leaders opened opportunities to create solutions to shared challenges.   We have learned to reach out for help.  Collaboration in this region is really key to being a unified voice on regional issues plus it allows sharing best practices on challenges we are facing.  

Currently I am working on a team to pursue grants for our community.  We are a community of mostly retirees and there are not many activities for our youth.  I hope to partner with our school to apply together for after school STEM-related programs and activities.  

2. Do you have a favorite quote that is meaningful to you?

Aristotle said, “Choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”  

I have this on my wall.  I think the word “choice” is key to so many things.  If we do nothing, it is a choice. In light of traumatic experiences that we will all go through at some point, a choice to work on the process of healing is important.  My personal work is ongoing.  

3. Is there a book you would recommend to the Fellows?

I have always suggested Victor Frankl’s book, Man’ Search For meaning  

4. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?

The network is invaluable, especially for the relationships I mentioned for creating solutions to shared challenges.  The experience and wisdom of the Fellow Network combined is a resource I hope to get more from as time goes on.  

5. What do you see as potential opportunities strengthening civic health in Arizona?

We are living in a new environment.  Our governmental organizations and municipalities have great responsibilities and challenges: Budget problems, failing infrastructure, lack of work force, and so on.  There are good and not so good ways to solve conflicts and problems.  It is unfortunate to see the incivility promoted by social media and negative advertisers.  It makes the job of a civic leader much harder.  We all need good representation and community engagement is critical.  Since key knowledge can inform better discussions and outcomes, our town is working to bring people together and educate and inform.  

If you missed a Fellows Spotlight, you can view them on the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership website now.

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