Civil engineer Yung Koprowski appointed to Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Town Council
The Gilbert Town Council has filled its final vacancy after Yung Koprowski was appointed to replace Jordan Ray. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Gilbert Town Council has filled its final vacancy after Yung Koprowski was appointed to replace Jordan Ray. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Gilbert Town Council is full again after council appointed a civil engineer to the last remaining vacant seat.

Yung Koprowski, 34, will fill former Council Member Jordan Ray’s seat for the final 32-plus months of his term.

Koprowski was nominated by Scott September, himself a council member for only 18 days. She was appointed April 21 on a 4-2 vote with Aimee Yentes and Jared Taylor dissenting.

“I'm very honored to have been appointed to the position,” Koprowski said by phone moments after the appointment. “I really look forward to working with the town residents and staff in the coming years.”

In her application for council, Koprowski said she had the ability to demonstrate her understanding of issues, explain how her decisions are formed and build consensus. She also said she will respect outcomes and be polite and respectful to voters.

“However, I will also make informed, data-driven decisions that are in the best interest of the town when public outcry may demand the opposite,” she wrote.

Koprowski’s primary discipline in civil engineering is in traffic engineering, and she also has additional certifications as a professional traffic operations engineer and a road safety professional. She serves on the Gilbert Citizens Transportation Task Force.

“I think that it [traffic engineering experience] was an aspect that was valued and will be a good addition to the council, particularly with a lot of transportation changes happening in Gilbert over the next few years,” she said.

The town is preparing to put a street bonds package before voters on the November 2021 ballot, and an “intelligent traffic system”—using technology to enhance traffic efficiency and minimize traffic problems—is a focus included in the town’s “City of the Future” initiative to stay ahead of decline after town build-out.

Third appointment in a month

Koprowski is the third appointment to council in just over a month.

Bill Spence, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was appointed March 17 to replace Eddie Cook, who resigned Feb. 18 to become Maricopa County Assessor. Spence's appointment lasts through the end of the year, but he stands for election to the final two years of Cook’s term on the Aug. 3 ballot.

September was appointed April 2 to replace Brigette Peterson, who resigned March 31 to run for mayor.

Koprowski’s seat came open April 6 when Ray resigned to run for justice of the peace for the Highland Justice Court.

Terms for September and Koprowski last through 2022 because Peterson and Ray resigned within 30 days of the April 6 nominating petition deadline for the August election.

The town used an application process that drew 105 residents wanting to replace Cook. The council narrowed the field to eight, including Spence, September and Koprowski. Their interviews were held March 17.

When Peterson resigned, the council used the same pool of applicants, and Spence, now part of the process, said he was allowed to review all 105 applicants with no outside pressure to consider only the remaining seven.

However, with Ray’s resignation, the council was unable to come to a consensus on process or person after a two-hour executive session.

Appointment's timing

Mayor Jenn Daniels said April 8 she was “very concerned” about the lack of consensus. She was more upbeat Tuesday after Koprowski’s appointment, even on a divided vote. Spence and September were appointed unanimously.

“That's not the ideal scenario and one that I had hoped to avoid,” Daniels said.

However, the mayor said it was important to move forward from a timing standpoint.

Daniels also addressed concerns that Yentes and Taylor had expressed about using the same applicant pool for Peterson’s and Ray’s seats as was used for Cook’s seat, questioning the ethics of the departing council members having had a say in reducing the pool. However, Daniels said Spence and September had multiple opportunities to weigh in on the candidate pool.

“Their desires for selection from the pool that we had was really important for them,” Daniels said. “So I'm grateful that we were able to come to a resolution.”

One concern for Daniels about the timing was giving new council members a chance to attend the town’s financial retreat, a key event in budget planning.

The meeting was moved from February to April 16 to allow new members to attend. But council had failed to appoint Ray’s successor by that date.

However, Koprowski attended by phone and even weighed in on the first part of the financial retreat as a member of the transportation task force. The second half of the meeting was postponed when WebEx, a teleconferencing application used by the town for the meeting, went down on the West Coast during the afternoon.

The remainder of the meeting was postponed until April 22, and Koprowski will attend.

Daniels endorsed Koprowski’s appointment after the meeting.

“I'm thrilled that we have a full council, and I'm really excited for Yung Koprowski because of her technical knowledge, for her experience as a business owner and as a longtime resident who cares deeply for the community,” Daniels said. “And I’m excited that we can get her into a position to use her skills and talents to help the community.”
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.