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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

The Glendale Star in an effort to perpetuate the current feud between the Glendale Fire Union and Freightliner, Inc. recently ran two opinion pieces, one by Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union, and one by Tim Noeding, General Sales Manager of Freightliner of Arizona. Here is the link to the Hester op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_80078e26-9d73-11e3-8f2f-001a4bcf887a.html . Here is the link to the Noeding op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_ea857dd8-9a46-11e3-a4c4-0019bb2963f4.html .

Again, it is apparent that the situation is a “he said vs. he said.” The general public does not understand or appreciate the technical nuances both gentlemen have used without any published facts. Neither side has offered anything new that hasn’t already been said.

So what do we need to know to ascertain the truth? At this point the fire department (or perhaps Joe Hester??) should provide the original, time stamped or dated, original bid specifications provided to the vendors. It should also provide the ratings sheets/evaluations of each bid publicly. If they are unwilling or unable to do so publicly speculation will continue to grow over was there ever was a standard set of specifications.

Apparently no formal RFP was ever issued. That flies in the face of city policy. Chief Burdick and Joe Hester claim that they dusted off old bid specifications, unused because of a lack of funding. When the older attempt to buy a truck did not occur, that was a final action. It died. When grant funding became available a new bid process should have been initiated. That did not happen. Why? Until the truth is known this incident will fester like a wound that is infected.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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The Glendale City Council flirted with Public Comments occurring at the beginning of their meetings. It was a pilot project. After several months council voted to move Public Comments back to the end of the meeting citing that it got in the way and delayed council’s real business which is certainly not hearing from the public.

The biggest gorilla in the Valley, Phoenix, just had its council voting on February 5, 2014 to move its Citizen Comment Session to the beginning of their meeting. The move was in response to a citizen petition which claimed citizen input was not respected or valued.

It seems ironic that Phoenix has now done what Glendale rejected. If Glendale citizens submitted a petition to move the Public Comment period to the front of the meeting again would council acquiesce as Phoenix has done? What do you think? You can weigh in by voting in my informal poll to the left of this column.

A coalition on Glendale’s city council has emerged. Look for Knaack, Martinez, Sherwood and Chavira voting as a majority. That puts Weiers, Hugh and Alvarez on the losing side of most issues. I bet Alvarez rues the day she helped Chavira to get elected as he has voted in opposition to her positions since he started in office. The biggest issue was the vote on arena management and Alvarez may never forgive him for that one.

However, this November is election time in Glendale with 3 council seats up for grabs. This newly formed, rather fragile majority may not last long. Will Chavira, et.al, work behind the scenes to defeat Alvarez and get someone who is more simpatico? It would be a good move on his part as it would get rid of a problem before he stands for reelection in 2016. All he has to do is throw his support behind Jamie Aldama, Alvarez’s opponent.

Don’t forget, Knaack and Martinez are retiring. Martinez has anointed Robert Petrone but candidate Petrone’s past financial troubles may get in his way. Knaack appears ready to endorse Bill Toops, owner of the Glendale Star. Toops will have his own problems explaining how his ownership of the local paper does not conflict with serving on council. Look for more candidates to emerge as it gets closer to the end of May when nominating petitions are due. Historically in recent times there have never been less than 2 candidates for every open seat. It will be interesting to see how this election shakes out. Stay tuned…

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the city council’s afternoon workshop was devoted to an informational presentation by staff on the history of Camelback Ranch. It’s a good a time as any to review what happened and how did Glendale get into this financial sinkhole? For the record, I did support this project and voted in the affirmative.

Camelback Ranch was first discussed in the spring of 2006. Keep in mind, the national economy was booming. Glendale was earning record revenues. That was the character of the economic climate in which the decision was made to move forward. No one had a crystal ball foretelling of the Great Recession about to descend upon the country. There was no issue with the arena. Steve Ellman had just sold his interest in the Coyotes to Jerry Moyes who became the new arena manager. The city was not paying an arena management fee. It would be 2009 when Moyes declared bankruptcy and the national recession hit.

Council had commissioned an economic impact study by Economic Research Associates released in March of 2006 to determine the potential financial impacts of the proposed Camelback Ranch project. It said the potential estimated direct economic impact of the two teams would be $14.9 million a year if used only during the spring training season and $19.2 million if the facility was used year round. Part of that estimate took into account that Right Path Limited would be developing the land surrounding the actual ballpark facilities. It was against this backdrop that council moved forward with approval for the project.

It was a complicated deal. Glendale’s partners were or are: the City of Phoenix; the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority; the Dodgers and White Sox teams; and Right Path Limited (as the developer).

Camelback Ranch is located physically within Phoenix. Glendale purchased the parcel on which the major league baseball facility (MLB) sits as well as several other parcels for commercial/retail development. Phoenix’s obligation in the deal is to pay 80% of the sales tax it received on this site for 40 years up to a maximum amount of $37 million. It was its contribution toward the development of the site. In return Glendale assumed the obligation of paying Phoenix for a specific right-of-way and land adjacent to that right-of-way. The deadline for that purchase in the amount of $3.7 million is October of this year. If Glendale reneges all terms of the Phoenix/Glendale Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) become null and void. From 2009 until 2013 Glendale received over $200,000 from Phoenix in sales tax revenues.

Ralph Burton, principal of Right Path Limited, was to be the developer of the land adjacent to the MLB facility. At the time Glendale had a great deal of confidence in him. He had been very instrumental in Cabelas locating in the Westgate area. He had purchased a substantial amount of land along the western side of Loop 101 named “Main Street” and there were plans in the works to site the Olympic basketball training facility and headquarters there. He had taken over the airport fixed base operation (FBO) and had performed major renovations. He unfortunately partnered with Danny Herndon (of Danny’s Car Wash fame and illegal immigrant workers) and Bob Banovach to develop the Main Street project. It wasn’t long before there was in-fighting between them resulting in litigation. In the meantime the recession factored into their development plans. All plans ground to a halt and ended in bankruptcy.

The Dodgers and White Sox agreement with Glendale stipulated that they would operate and maintain the facility. Capital repairs would be Glendale’s obligation. They were required to pay $1 a year for rent. There is no management fee obligation for Glendale. Glendale is responsible for providing public safety services but the revenue it receives appears to cover those costs.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) pledged to cover 66.7% of the project’s costs as it has historically done with other baseball spring training facilities in Phoenix, Mesa, Peoria and Surprise. Reimbursement was originally scheduled to begin in 2017 but again, the recession destroyed that schedule. AZSTA’s revenues dwindled and the new projection for payments to Glendale is now scheduled for 2025-2026.

The debt service for construction of the project range from a high of $17 million in FY 2014-15 to a low of $9 to $11 million in subsequent years. Glendale is obligated to contribute to a Capital Repair account with annual payments of $400,000 to $800,000.

The financial obligations of Camelback Ranch and Jobing. com Arena are substantial for Glendale. The annual financial requirements of these two city owned facilities are clearly unsustainable.  Camelback Ranch requires infusions ranging from a high of $18 million (debt service and Capital Repair account) to a low of $10 million a year. Jobing.com Arena requires an annual management fee of $15 million and annual debt service of approximately $13 million. Add to those figures the $5 million a year owed to the NHL, the annual contribution to the Capital Repairs account of half a million to a million a year and another million to repay the city’s Enterprise Funds and we’re looking at a low of $28 million a year to a high of $34 million a year. Combined these two facilities require cash infusions each year from a low of $38 million to a high of $52 million. A disclaimer is in order. Since I am no longer on city council I am not privy to current financial information and obligations related to these facilities that may be considered confidential. However, the underlying concepts remain valid. Some of the cash required by these facilities may be offset by revenues they generate. We simply will not know how much offset there is for the arena until the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2014.

Is there any solution available? Perhaps yes. The many partners and contractual obligations associated with Camelback Ranch do not lend themselves to a sale by the city of Camelback Ranch. However, Jobing.com Arena is not in the same situation and could be sold. In doing so it removes substantial annual debt service and management fee obligations from the city. It is an option that merits consideration. Personally, I would be sad to see the city lose the arena but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

As a side note I am discontinuing my informal polls, at least for now. It is obvious that those for or against an issue are padding the results by voting repeatedly. The results of the poll have now become meaningless.

If you would like to receive an email advising you of a new blog post, simply insert your email address in the space provided on the top right side of this column.

 

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On the afternoon of February 20, 2014 Joe Hester, President of Glendale’s fire union posted the following comment on my blog post about the fire truck bid. I don’t just mouth that I believe in transparency. I act on it. That is why I am posting his comments in this separate blog along with my public, not private response to him. Below is Mr. Hester’s comment followed by my response.

Joyce,I am flattered on how much you have been writing about me; I had no idea until phone call today. I know you would want your son to be in the safest vehicle possible in the event he was in an accident while responding to a 911 emergency. I also believe you would want any firefighter to go home safe to their family. As you are aware Mr Lester Hillis Glendale Fire’s only line of duty death was a result of a vehicle accident; so I hope you can appreciate my position, putting politics aside.I will respond to Mr Noeding memo and provide my response to whoever would like to see it, including the media. I can also accommodate an exclusive over lunch with an old friend to provide you as much detail as you would like ;perhaps at your favorite lunch place Gordon Biersch and my treat?I would also like to thank you for your continued involvement with our firebase strategic plan.all the best,Joe

*********************************

Mr. Hester,

I prefer to respond publicly to your comment about my recent blogs about the fire truck bid. My blog comments on this issue have not been personal. Keep my family out of this discussion. They are not involved in my blog writing.

I find your comment about flattery to be disingenuous. Perhaps it was your attempt at humor.

I participated in your firebase strategic plan because it is critical that the department cut all but essential services and adopt new methods and strategies of operation to deal with Glendale’s financial deficit. I found the exercise to date to be informative to any citizens participating who have no knowledge of all of the services offered by fire.

I did not appreciate that all questions about budget such as, what is each unit’s current budget? were sidestepped and answered with, you can refer to fire’s current budget or can follow the council’s current budget discussions. How can one determine the value of a service offered or make a determination about it when no financial information is provided?

The current bid for the fire truck seems to reek of corruption. I am curious why you felt it was necessary to insert yourself into the discussion. I would think that would be Fire Chief Burdick’s responsibility. It is an issue and a bid process that is administrative and therefore best handled by the City Manager.

The fire union’s power disturbingly, has become more and more evident everywhere, especially at election time. Sammy, a Phoenix fire fighter, is obviously very much an advocate, as your councilmember, for fire’s ambitions. As the curtain parts more and more citizens (taxpayers) are learning of the union’s agenda and tactics and beginning to realize it does not always act in their best interests.

 It would serve you well to remember that the pen is mightier than the sword. Since my blog’s inception, a year ago, there have been over 95,000 views and my recent blogs on the fire truck bid are nearing 2,000 views. There are many people, especially Glendale residents, very interested in Glendale issues, most particularly at this moment, in this one.

As for a lunch meeting, bring it on. I’m game and not in the least intimidated by the fire union. I guess that’s why you all worked so hard and invested so much time and money in a local election. Feel free to shoot me some dates at: clarkjv@aol.com.

As you can see I have taken down my informal poll for the time being. It seems some people simply cannot play by the rules. Someone or several people decided to stuff the votes by voting repeatedly thereby making the poll meaningless.

By the way, if YOU have a question for the fire union president, take a moment to offer them to me as a comment to this post. Thanks.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Here is the letter Freightliner sent to Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union. Note that it was copied to the City Manager, the City Attorney, the Mayor and all Councilmembers and the Glendale Star. I apologize if the formatting is a little wonky. I am still not an expert on all things blog.

Image2

February 17, 2014

Joe Hester
Captain, Glendale Fire Department
Vice President, United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association
Glendale, AZ 

 Dear Mr. Joe Hester.

I am shocked that you are attacking Freightliner Arizona with baseless facts and trying to characterize our organization as not wanting to support the safety of the Firefighters in Glendale.

In your opinion piece, “Fire Truck Manufacturers Should stick to the Facts”, you point out that Freightliner of Arizona was offering an inferior product that lacked the Extruded Body and Cab, the Telma Auxiliary Brake in our proposal.  Maybe you never got a chance to look at our proposal, but it included those items at a price of $422,838, plus tax.

We spent a great deal of time trying to get specific information in written form so we could verify we were providing exactly what Glendale Fire wanted.  What we received were a couple of verbal “Must Haves”: Extruded Body and Cab, Telma Brake and Electronic Valves.  These items were all supplied in our proposal.  We even went as far as going to a Glendale Fire Station to measure the body and compartment dimensions so we could have Rosenbauer duplicate them and draw up the apparatus to best match the equipment being used by the department today.

It is insulting that you or any Fire Fighter might feel that Freightliner of Arizona would condone providing inferior or unsafe Fire Apparatus to any community, least of all Glendale Fire.  We know that there are severe budget issues facing the community and some of the “must have options” are very expensive and not widely used throughout the industry. Freightliner of Arizona’s proposal included all of these items, but communicated to the Department that there were less expensive more widely used options that could be provided; Thus, saving the Department and Glendale money so that these funds could be used for other purposes in the Department.

You claim that all of the communities around Arizona have these options.  I would ask that you investigate this claim, because you will find that 80% do not have Extruded Bodies and that 90% do not have Telma  Brake and about 90% do not have electronic valves.  These items are available on Fire Trucks and fit certain purposes, but the cost versus the benefit has been reviewed by most of your fellow fire fighters and they chose not to have these items on their apparatus.  I am sure that you feel that these are needed in Glendale, but the majority of fire fighters do not. There is no data that would indicate that these items improve safety for a fire fighter. If there was, the National Fire Protection Association, which provides governance over Fire Fighter Safety, would require these devices on all fire apparatus.

Freightliner of Arizona has been providing Fire Apparatus and parts, service and warranty to Arizona Fire Departments since 1998, and did not just return to selling Fire Trucks as you said.  We have participated with most of the major Fire Departments in bids and RFP’s.  We have never had to approach a City Council about how we were treated in the procurement process.  We have never suggested that Fire Fighters should ever be put in unsafe apparatus or conditions.  We believe quite the opposite!  We understand, probably better then most, the importance of fire fighter safety and how vehicle specification and design can insure it.

Joe, it is extremely unfortunate that you have been misinformed about what we provided to the Glendale Fire.  I am providing you a copy of what we submitted to Glendale so you can confirm what I am telling you is the truth.  I hope you realize that our objection on the way the procurement process was handled was not an attack on Glendale Fire Fighters, but on the people who were responsible to conduct themselves as professionals and fiduciaries of the community. 

I think that when all the facts weigh in you will see that Freightliner of Arizona was mislead and provided inaccurate information on which we provided a proposal.  The apparatus our competitor proposed to Glendale Fire was not the same design and more expensive resulting in the Council being asked to approve $484,000 plus dollars instead of the $422,838 we bid.  With tax that only comes to $ 57,934.  That leaves over $26,000 unaccounted for!  Doesn’t that concern you?  It sure did us!  Especially when we knew we included the “Must Have” components and told that our bid was high bid!  It just doesn’t add up!

Freightliner of Arizona is not the enemy of Glendale Fire Fighters.  That is not why we brought this issue to the Council.  We did it because the procurement process to purchase this new Fire Truck was broken. We want to participate in a fair and transparent process where the most competitive and responsible bidder wins the award! We look forward to participating in the new RFP that Glendale Fire will be issuing.  We hope the process will be fair so if we can provide the best, safest and most competitive Fire Truck, we hope Glendale Fire will want to do business with us.

Respectfully,

Timothy Noeding
General Sales Manager
9899 W Roosevelt   St.
Tolleson,AZ85353                                                                                                                       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cc: Mayor Jerry Weiers
Manny Martinez
Yvonne Knaack
Gary Sherwood
Sam Chavira
Ian Hugh
Norma Alvarez
Brenda Fischer
Michael Bailey
Glendale Star

Here is the Freightliner bid document. Freightliner represents Rosenbauer in Arizona:

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Bid Price and Delivery Schedule For 

************ City of Glendale ***********

 Rosenbauer America, LLC is pleased to provide this bid proposal. The proposed apparatus has been tailored around the requirements of the fire service industry and we are confident that our proposal will meet and exceed the needs of the department. The proposed apparatus will be constructed utilizing only the highest quality materials and workmanship available in the industry.  The apparatus will provide the upmost firefighter safety and efficiency on the fire ground along with extended life and lower maintenance cost throughout the life of the vehicle.

   [1] Rosenbauer Commander pumper w/EXT body:      $422,838.00 plus tax and HCAC fees

    * See page 2 for prepayment discounts and page 3 for additional options

The specifications herein contained shall form a part of the final contract, and are subject to changes desired by the purchaser, provided such alterations are interlined prior to the acceptance by the company of the order to purchase, and are provided such alterations do not materially affect the cost of the construction of the apparatus. 

The proposal for fire apparatus conforms to all Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations in effect at the time of bid, and with all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines for automotive fire apparatus as published at the time of bid, except as modified by customer specifications. Any increased costs incurred by the first party because of future changes in or additions to said DOT or NFPA standards will be passed along to the customers as an addition to the price set forth above.

Contract Terms

Delivery:

The proposed truck will be completed in no more than:   330-360 Days ARO

Price Terms:

This offer shall remain valid for thirty, (30) calendar days from the quotation submittal date of November  22, 2013

Payment:

Contract payment of one-hundred percent (100%) of the purchase price shall be paid upon delivery and acceptance of the completed unit.

Prepayment options:

As an option Rosenbauer is offering a prepayment discount should the City wish to 100% prepay for the apparatus at the time of order. This option will include a 100% performance to guarantee the production of the unit. The prepayment discount would be $5,707.00 and would drop the sale price to $417,131.00 plus tax and HGAC fees. The tax rate would drop from 8.3% to 5.6%.

 Original price                    $422,828.00 + $35,096.00 (8.3%) = $457,934.00 plus HGAC fees

Prepayment price               $417,131.00 + $23,359.00 (5.6%) = $440,490.00 plus HGAC fees

The prepayment option would save the City over $17,000.00.

I want to thank the City of Glendale for the opportunity to serve the needs of the department.       

Sincerely,

Chad Horne
 
Rosenbauer America

 

It has come to my attention that Freightliner has sent a response letter to Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union. Included in the letter is Freightliner’s assertion that the extended cab and Thelma brake system were indeed included in their bid at a cost far less ($422,000) than the $484,000 E-One truck for which the fire department was seeking approval from the city council.

So what’s going on? Hester said the following in his op-ed piece, “The truck Freightliner submitted to GFD for evaluation was not the extruded body cab used by our city and every other Valley fire department.” He went on to say, “The other key difference? The vehicle’s braking system.” Apparently these items were indeed included in Freightliner’s bid.

Was Joe Hester misinformed by one of his own people about the Freightliner bid? Did he not check Freightliner’s bid himself before he wrote his op-ed piece? Or is he deliberately attempting to confuse the issue and the apparent fact that the bid process was flawed?

As soon as I obtain the documents from Freightliner I will post them here for all to see – I suspect they will not be difficult to get.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

War of words

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 19, 2014
Posted in City of Glendale  | 2 Comments

Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Fighters Union, offered commentary in the local media about Glendale’s recent attempt to purchase a fire truck. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_994d603a-9275-11e3-be73-0019bb2963f4.html .The City Manager pulled the item from that night’s council meeting and it seems that she has directed that a new RFP be issued for said truck.

It’s what happened after the council meeting, out in the lobby, that has everyone scratching their heads and muttering, oh no. There was a war of words. Fire Chief Mark Burdick uncorked on the two gentlemen from Freightliner who had spoken during the Public Comment period about the flaws in the procurement process for the truck. Several people who witnessed the confrontation allege that Burdick used profanity and threatened never to consider or use a Freightliner fire truck. Apparently a security guard asked Burdick to take it outside of the building.

Since Burdick has been silent Hester has come to his defense. He makes reference to two components of the truck – the extruded body cab and the brake system. None of us can possibly know about these items. It has turned into a “he said vs. he said” contest about who is right.

Far more to the point are Hester’s assertions that there was “a competitive evaluation process” and “I believe transparency here is a must.” Apparently transparency and competition were absent. Hence the allegations of a flawed process by Freightliner. Rather than proving that the bid process was without question Hester’s best defense was a two-fold offense: to call into question Councilmember Hugh’s relationship with Freightliner personnel; and to claim that the Freightliner fire truck is somehow unsafe.  People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Shouldn’t there have been some sort of disclosure that some fire fighters involved in the process had previous ownership interests or worked for their chosen bidder, E-One? No wonder that E-One has been the successful bidder repeatedly.

What should be of even more concern is Hester’s statement that, “Glendale is the state’s busiest fire department per capita – facing more than 35,000 calls a year.” It is an accurate statement but begs the question, Why? Other cities in the Valley with comparable populations generally experienced an average of 10,000 less annual calls for service. Could it be because Glendale, under the Automatic Aid agreement, answers more calls outside its city than any other city? The public has been fully informed on the benefits of Automatic Aid and should be just as informed about its demands. What was it that Hester said about transparency? Shouldn’t there be some transparency to explain why Glendale’s calls for service are so inordinately high?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Jamsheed Mehta, Executive Director of Transportation, and briefly Interim Assistant City Manager for the City of Glendale is leaving on March 12, 2014 to serve the City of Marana. Jamsheed has been with the city since 2005 and in that period his quiet intelligence and competence has served the city and him well. It is disappointing to see that he did not receive the appointment as Assistant City Manager.

His departure may very well be a precursor to the exodus of other talented employees who see the handwriting on the wall under the current regime. Many have indicated their concern as City Manager Brenda Fischer (from the Town of Maricopa) surrounds herself with Town of Maricopa cronies or Glendale employees with questionable resumes earned under the tutelage of former City Manager Ed Beasley.

There is now a readily identified coalition within councilmember ranks that form a majority on most issues. It consists of Vice Mayor Knaack and Councilmembers Sherwood, Martinez and Chavira. The minority is Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh and Alvarez.

It is not so surprising that Knaack and Martinez would join with Sherwood and Chavira. Some have speculated that both are tired, burnt out and so have opted for the path of least resistance. Both will not be running for reelection and have blessed others to take their places. Martinez has endorsed Robert Petrone, seemingly a man of questionable substance considering his financial past. Knaack is rumored to pass her legacy on to Bill Toops, owner/publisher of the Glendale Star. A man who could experience conflict from the very start, if he runs and is successful in getting elected, as he tries to serve two masters: the paper which provides him income and a city which in the past has often dismissed his paper’s relevance.

Weiers has got to find a way to raise his visibility as Glendale’s mayor in the community. It’s a problem that all mayors in Glendale have had. It used to drive former Mayor Scruggs nuts. In poll after poll, most respondents could not name her as mayor and when they did, they often mispronounced her name as Scaggs or Shruggs. Weiers may be taking actions that are good for Glendale but unfortunately no one knows what they are. He should be wary of Councilmember Sherwood’s ambition.

It is said that Sherwood is in his office in City Hall every day and has de facto assumed the role of Mayor. Why not? Sherwood has the ear of the City Manager. Sherwood is riding high these days with 3 other votes behind him but fortunes can change on a dime. One of his more questionable actions was to actively insert himself into the selection process for a new City Manager. It is said that he met privately, one-on-one, with Ms. Fischer during the process and then actively solicited support of the other councilmembers for her acceptance. There is nothing illegal about his action but ethically it is highly unorthodox. No other councilmember in memory has ever had a private, one-on one with a potential City Manager candidate and then actively lobbied for same.

Everyone acknowledges that Fischer owes Sherwood big time for her hiring. Also of note is Fischer’s spouse is either still a fire fighter in Henderson, NV or was a fire fighter there for years. Add to that Frisoni’s spouse is or was a police officer. Will these relationships color their actions toward public safety? We may have seen it already as one of Fischer’s first actions was to bring the fire department deficit before council allowing it to receive additional funding. No other department received that kind of consideration.

Chavira, on the other hand, appears to be silent, nearly invisible, merely along for the ride, cutting the best deals that he can for him and his fire department union buddies. That is not surprising either as we have seen questionable fire union actions involving his participation prior to his successful bid for a council seat. Alvarez’ past actions and record make her irrelevant. She has a record of contributing little or nothing to crafting solutions. Hugh, on the other hand, has an opportunity to break out. There have been a few flashes when he has spoken that give hint to a thoughtful man.

Based upon the current political landscape where is Glendale headed? Perhaps down the proverbial rabbit hole where “up “is “down” and “down” is “up.” Glendale appears to have two paths before it: Bankruptcy where city debt and rising O&M expenses are so high that no amount of palliative change orchestrated by Fischer, et.al., can save it; or a Glendale saved from falling over the cliff but divested of all that we love about it, lean and mean, soulless but saved.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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An anniversary

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 11, 2014
Posted in Blogs  | Tagged With: , , , | 5 Comments

Today, February 11, 2014 marks the first year anniversary of my blog with over 92,000 reads. There have been 218 posts with over 651 comments offered. I started writing shortly after I left city council on January 15, 2013. My motive was to provide you, the reader, information on Glendale issues from my perspective as a former councilmember. This forum has provided me the opportunity to write with no holds barred and no punches pulled. I am very grateful that I have been able to do so and surprised and amazed that so many have taken the time to visit my blog.

Your comments, generally, have been very insightful and thought provoking. I welcome any and all comments as long as they are respectful. So, if you have never commented, give it a shot. Nearly 100 people have signed up for email notification each time I post. If you would like to know when I have posted, check the upper right side of this column to sign up.

My informal polls have been very popular. When they began only a few would take the time to vote on the question posed. Now a hundred or more respondents will vote on the latest poll offered. The poll question can be found to the left of this column. When I reach 400 respondents the poll would qualify as a survey. Often that is the statistical sample number used by political survey firms.

My deepest gratitude and thanks goes out to each and every one of you who visited my blog in the past year. Without your interest in Glendale and its issues there would be no incentive to write about them. Your continued interest demonstrates that people are hungry for a different point of view other than which is offered by the usual media sources.

Thank you all so much and please come back and visit often!!

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This is a follow up to my recent blog of February 5, 2014, “Here come da Chief.” New information has become available, most specifically, a letter from Freightliner distributed to all councilmembers which is now a public record. It raises some very interesting questions.

Apparently the fire union chose E-One as the successful bidder. The process was handled internally by the fire department, not the city and not its Procurement Division. Perhaps Procurement would have been more appropriate to handle this transaction.  You will remember that questions were raised by Freightliner the night of the council meeting during the Public Comment when this item was on the agenda for council approval. It was pulled by the City Manager and it looks like the process will be repeated with a formal RFP process this time. It seems someone’s hand was caught in the cookie jar.

Freightliner has been around for quite some time and has been the successful bidder on multiple occasions throughout the state. E-One not so much. The City has previously used E-One to supply some of its equipment.  Apparently Wayne Smith (who handled the current process), Don Jesse and others have had a close relationship with E-One since it began operation. Some of these gentlemen appeared to have either ownership interests or were employed by E-One. If true, that alone, is sufficient for their recusal from the process.

The city received an excellent bid from E-One but how?  Apparently Wayne Smith was frantically calling Freightliner representatives at 4:30 one morning to secure specific information on their bid. Did Smith provide this information to E-One so that it could tailor its bid to come in $3,000 lower than Freightliner’s bid?

We know the E-One bid was higher than the grant monies provided for the fire truck’s purchase. It appears the purchase can be made for less money. Why is a department which is sorely in need of revenue with many other needs, such a new firefighter gear, wasting money by asking for fire truck options that are outdated and frankly overkill? According to Wayne Smith’s conversation with Freightliner representatives, it appears that the fire union was requiring these options. Why?

The city has historically used a traditional pumper. The E-One bid was for a rescue pumper with a different design from that which Glendale currently uses. It would require extra training for its use. How much would that have cost the city?

E-One is a company that seems to be struggling. It is currently owned by a hedge fund and has had a succession of presidents lately.  Apparently their ability to offer maintenance and support for this bid is dwindling and in doubt.

This particular bid process seems to reek of favoritism and may very well be unethical. Apparently Glendale continues to have problems in practicing ethical behavior, even under its new senior management.  The universal hope was that there would be a new era of leadership. Yet all signs point to a continuation of previous behavior. How disappointing.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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