Introduction to Scott Somers

Hello GVR Members!

I am thrilled to finally be on board as the Chief Executive Officer of this fine organization and in this great community. My name is Scott Somers and I began my tenure with GVR on January 4. I have spent the first few weeks meeting one-on-one with members of the Board, candidates for the Board, department heads and staff. I have toured facilities and participated in various Board and committee meetings. Over the next few months, I plan to work with the Board, Audit Committee, and finance staff on the annual audit, which will be presented in March; continue familiarizing myself with the organization and Green Valley; attend club events and club meetings, meet with members, and become engaged with the community.

I am particularly excited about moving GVR’s next 5-year strategic plan forward. This will be a great and welcomed opportunity for members to contribute and help shape the direction of GVR. Watch for announcements that provide opportunities to participate in member surveys, community forums, and other means to be heard.

Starting in February, I am planning to meet with small groups of members on a weekly basis so that we can get to know one another. COVID has made this difficult, but not insurmountable. We will likely provide a variety of meeting styles and times so that those that prefer to meet in person (socially distanced, of course!) and those that prefer to meet virtually, will be able to do so.

A little about me…

I have been in local government management for 17 years. I am the former City Manager of College Park, Maryland, home to the University of Maryland. Prior to College Park, I held the positions of County Manager for Clatsop County, Oregon; City Manager for Reedsport, Oregon; Assistant City Administrator for Savage, Minnesota; Assistant to the City Manager for White Bear Lake, Minnesota; Management Intern for the City of Tucson, Arizona; and Staff Assistant for an Arizona U.S. Senator.

I have a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Arizona State University. I was admitted to Pi Alpha Alpha, the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration in 2003. I am a member of the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) and an ICMA Credentialed Manager. I am a previous member of the board of the Maryland City/County Managers Association and a previous member of the Maryland Municipal League, Legislative Committee.

I am a past board member of the Oregon City/County Managers Association. I was a member of the Finance Focus Group for the League of Oregon Cities and a member of the Legislative Committee for the Association of Oregon Counties. While in Minnesota, I was a member of the Minnesota City/County Managers Association and am a past president of the Association of Public Management Professionals of Minnesota.

I was first on skis when I was two years old and I remain an avid downhill skier. I am a native Tucsonan and could not be happier to be back home with family and friends and living in the beautiful Sonoran Desert that I love. I am passionate about fitness and nutrition. I enjoy gardening, landscaping, hiking, traveling, and adventuring.

I want to thank to the Board of Directors for bestowing upon me their confidence with this appointment as their CEO. I also want to thank so many of you for going out of your way to provide me with a very warm and touching welcome to GVR.

Interested members can view my employment contract at gvrec.org.

That’ll Do, Jen

Happy New Year! May 2021 be a brighter, lighter year for us all. GVR has a new CEO this month! While he is settling in, let’s pause to acknowledge Jen Morningstar for her tireless and too-often thankless work as the Interim CEO through the hardest year GVR has yet seen.

Jen did not seek the job of CEO, and perhaps if she had known a global health crisis was beginning to boil over when she was abruptly handed the wheel, she might have abandoned ship and headed for the hills. Her staff is grateful that she held on. Like corporate and community leaders everywhere, Jen found herself navigating uncharted waters, and she is the first person to say that like those of other leaders, her decisions haven’t always been perfect. The course to plot was not often clear. But she never gave up and never left her team to endure the clamor alone.

While trying to manage an operation turned upside-down by the pandemic, Jen also attended to a Board of Directors that was proceeding with business-as-usual, pursuing dynamic projects. Obviously tired, at times worn thin by ceaseless demands and the heavy responsibility of staff and community health, Jen maintained both her composure and sense of humor, expressed her gratitude to her staff, noticed and commended their hard work, trusted them to do their jobs, and respected their instincts. She marked birthdays, inquired about ailing spouses and remote-schooling children, and stepped in herself to cover duties as needed. She is relieved to be relieved. It was a very difficult year and she should be commended for keeping the operation afloat.

Jen, for your steadfastness, humility, and grace under fire, thank you.


After January 4, Jen’s contact information will change. Please direct operational inquiries to hotline@gvrec.org and policy inquiries to board@gvrec.org, selecting just one address. Copying multiple recipients creates delays as staff sort out who should respond and this sometimes results in emails being overlooked. If you are uncertain, never fear—staff will forward your message to appropriate parties as needed.

Welcome Back Snowbirds!

Whew! 2020 delivered one heck of a summer! Record-breaking heat in Green Valley, a pandemic, social strife, and a difficult election season have made for quite a stew. It will be tempting for all of us to forget those troubles and commence the winter season as usual. However, the pandemic is still with us. As we saw when college classes resumed, dropping precautions has dire results. Green Valley has enjoyed low COVID numbers thus far, and GVR will continue to do our part to sustain that trend.

If you are heading south this winter, please expect everything to be different. Everyone is wearing masks, which are required on GVR property now. Movies, concerts, lectures, and classes will happen, but you’ll be seated at least six feet from others. Occupancy limits are quite low for some high-demand activities (pools, fitness centers, studios) and members may need to make online reservations to use those spaces. For now, activities that are incompatible with social distancing will not be offered at all. Your patience and acceptance in the face of these new and sometimes disappointing conditions will be deeply appreciated. The staff have watched each other fall ill with COVID, and some have not fared well. Our understanding of “need” vs. “want” has shifted. Expectations have also shifted: disagreements are certain, but courtesy is required, no matter how grumpy we may feel.

Of course some things will be just as you always knew. The weather will be much better here than in Michigan. The mountains still turn pink and people still turn out on patios for a drink—we’re just keeping the party walls between us these days.

This will be a winter of relaxation, not bustle. A winter of conversations with close friends, instead of potlucks with the whole neighborhood. Consider trying a new activity! Shuffleboard, bocce, horseshoes, water aerobics, tennis, pickleball, corn hole and more are great ways to stay active, and be social—in a distanced way.

PS. Be sure to review the home page at GVREC.ORG for essential information before visiting centers. If you have not subscribed to the weekly e-newsletter, you will find a link to do so on that home page. Reading the weekly GVR “e-blast” will keep you up to date.

GVR Buys Building for Club Spaces

Monday, October 19, 2020

Last Friday, the GVR Board of Directors approved the purchase of the former Canoa Hills Golf Course Clubhouse.

An exhaustive study of the building and grounds was completed prior to making an offer, including professional inspections, expert consultations on all aspects of the structure, the air quality, and possible renovation ideas.

After a lengthy and comprehensive remodel of the building, dedicated space will be built for GVR Glass Artists, GVR Ceramics and GVR Poker Clubs. Additionally, the move will free up space at the Desert Hills Center to allow GVR Lapidary Club to expand; facilitate expansion of the fitness room and provide availability for much needed meeting space for member groups and classes.

Opportunities for development of recreation centers in Green Valley are seriously limited, and the location of the former clubhouse is an excellent location and value for GVR Members. The purchase of this property will not be responsible for any increase in member dues.

Progress Toward a New Normal

Six months into the pandemic it is beginning to feel like the life we enjoyed last year will resume—in a modified fashion, of course—but nevertheless, we are heading back into familiar territory. As of this week, GVR has reopened all available pools and spas (12), all outdoor ball courts, shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce, and table tennis. Water aerobics and water volleyball are starting up again and fitness classes are being offered in outdoor spaces, free to members. The fitness centers are gradually reopening under the strict guidelines of the Arizona Department of Health Services. The GVR Live! 2020-2021 performing arts season is scheduled to begin on October 29 with outdoor concerts, and a test-run on reopening an indoor studio is planned for the coming weeks. Arizona is learning how to carry on living with masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer at the ready.

Certified by Pima County as in-compliance with all pandemic guidelines, GVR facilities are as safe and sanitary as possible. GVR staff thanks the membership for doing their part in reducing the infection rate in southern Arizona, and especially in our vulnerable community. Thank you for wearing your masks. Thank you for standing back. Thank you for washing your hands well and often. It has made a difference and we are all beginning to reap the rewards. Continuing with these new practices will allows us to once again enjoy each other’s company.

Coronavirus Update

March 14, 2020, the GVR Board of Directors held an emergency meeting via teleconference to discuss the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Green Valley community, specifically GVR members.

The Board endorsed GVR Management’s decision to close all GVR facilities this evening at 9pm, tentatively reopening on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

The health, safety and well-being of GVR members, staff and the greater Green Valley Community is of utmost importance. GVR continues to monitor the latest information from the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services as information about COVID-19 continues to evolve.  GVR leadership met over the course of several days pouring over the abundant, ever-changing information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it would affect our high-risk member population. GVR Management has taken a proactive stance in protecting our members and staff from the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. At the close of business March 14, 2020 all GVR facilities and offices closed, tentatively reopening on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

As additional information becomes available, updates will be published on www.gvrec.org and in upcoming e-Blasts. Staff will focus on cleaning, maintenance and critical administrative functions including the work associated with the closures and cancellations.

We respectfully request GVR Members work cooperatively with staff and refrain from visiting GVR facilities during this closure.

At this time, the presidential preference election on Tuesday, March 17, has not been cancelled. Polling places at Casa Paloma 1, Desert Hills and East Center will be open for election activities only.

GVR will promptly distribute communication should this event be cancelled.