Dem Club Elects 2023 Officers; Admiral Vern Clark Is Surprise Speaker

The 2023 PebbleCreek Democratic Club officers, left to right: Becky Rodes, member-at-large; Vicki Barber, president; Jim Sheard, vice president; and Barbara McMahon, secretary. Not pictured: George Peterson-Karlan, treasurer. (Photo by Alisa Moore)

Alisa Moore

The January meeting of the PebbleCreek Democratic Club brought the expected business of the first meeting of the year, and an unexpected speaker: retired Admiral Vern Clark, PebbleCreek resident, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO, the head of the United States Navy) from 2000-2005 and former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A sought-after speaker on issues related to leadership and military readiness, Admiral Clark was the second-longest serving CNO. He has received numerous military decorations for his service, including four awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Navy Distinguished Medals, and three awards of the Legion of Merit. Since his retirement, he has been honored with the Eisenhower Award from the Business Executives of North America, the Distinguished Sea Service Award from the Naval Order of the United States, and the Distinguished Service Medal of the Military Order of the World Wars.

Admiral Clark earned his undergraduate degree from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., and has an MBA from the University of Arkansas. He has since received Honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Toledo, Old Dominion University, Northwest University, and Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Club members elected the following officers: Vicki Barber, president; Jim Sheard, vice president; George Peterson-Karlan, treasurer; Barbara McMahon, secretary; and Becky Rodes, member-at-large. George and Becky are serving their second consecutive terms. President Barber was the 2022 club secretary.

Announcements included upcoming social events: the men’s breakfast on Jan. 11, the dinner and Drifters concert on Jan. 14, the ladies brunch honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and accomplishments on Jan. 16, the Singles Group’s private tour of the new City Hall on Jan. 26, the Legislative District 29 meeting and speaker on ranked choice voting on Jan. 29, and the wildly popular Mardi Gras dinner/dance on Feb. 17. For all event information, check the club website at

At the March 1 meeting, donations will be collected for the annual drive to assist the Maricopa County Humane Society, one of the eight local community or charitable organizations supported by the club. Please bring all donations that night, if possible. Cash contributions, bath towels, “throws” for animal bedding, new dog and cat toys, leashes and collars, disposable gloves, cat scratch pads, cat litter pans, and top-loading pet carriers are specifically appreciated.

Goodyear Mayor Joe Pizzillo was the scheduled speaker for the January meeting, but inaugural events required that he represent the city that evening. The PebbleCreek Democratic Club appreciates Admiral Clark agreeing to speak on short notice and looks forward to hearing Mayor Pizzillo at the Feb. 1 meeting. All PebbleCreek residents are welcome to attend the PC Democratic Club meetings—no RSVP is necessary. For general information about the club, please visit