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DOA’s Bell loses bid for Phoenix council seat

Department of Administration Director Bill Bell wants to stay active after he retires next month, but he’s going to have to find another place to do it besides the Phoenix City Council.

Bell, who has held DOA’s top post since 2005, was one of 19 candidates who applied to fill the vacant District 3 seat on the City Council, which covers north-central Phoenix. But after hearing the candidates state their cases, the City Council appointed Bill Gates, an attorney and director of distribution for golf equipment manufacturer PING and a member of the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.

The council seat Bell sought was recently vacated by Maria Baier, who was appointed state land commissioner in June by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Bell is scheduled to retire from DOA in July, and said he was not quite ready to settle down yet. With a résumé that includes several years as assistant city manager in Phoenix, as a member of the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission and in various other municipal positions, Bell said he was well-suited to be councilman.

“I’ve got a history with the city and experience with the city that I think could be helpful in helping to move the city forward. I thought about it a bit and decided that since I was going to have more time on my hands that I ought to be able to devote some time to the city. So, therefore, I applied for the position,” Bell told the Arizona Capitol Times shortly before the vote to appoint Gates.

A special election will be held in the fall to determine who will serve out the remainder of Baier’s term, which ends in 2011. Speaking before the council announced its decision, Bell said he had not decided whether he would run, regardless of whether he was appointed to the seat.

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