It has been 17 years and 253 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
As a former Glendale city councilmember I take no joy in writing about the seemingly endless misdeeds of sitting Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood. It reinforces the average citizen’s belief that all elected officials are corrupt or are not responsive to the electorate once they take office. Just as in other professions there are a few bad apples that can sully a profession’s reputation.
There are many people upset to learn about Sherwood’s situation and they are justified in their anger. They want to march down to City Hall and demand action. More about this later in this blog.
It appears in addition to the alleged license suspension for 8 days from 8/12/2014 to 8/20/2014, Sherwood’s license was also allegedly suspended from 6/26/2012 to 9/3/2013.
This is troubling on many levels. I attended at least two meetings during that time period, once at a restaurant in north Glendale and another time out at the Glendale Airport, and Sherwood was at both. He drove himself to those meetings…if the public records are correct… on a suspended license.
The restaurant incident sticks in my mind to this day because after the meeting participants were out in the parking lot getting ready to leave, one of the comments made by Sherwood was that he had a “cop card.” I’ve never forgotten that and assumed that he was alleging that he had a card he could use if stopped for a traffic violation. Apparently it didn’t work very well. I have tried to verify that such a “cop card” exists and no one, especially in the local law enforcement community, has ever conceded they have heard of such a thing. It doesn’t seem to exist. Sherwood was probably bragging in an effort to enhance his reputation as “somebody” as his ego may be his biggest personal failing.
The point is that during that 15 month period it seems that Sherwood was driving on a suspended license. In addition, in the Sahuaro district’s portion of Follow Your Money, Sherwood submitted for mileage reimbursement on 3/1/13 for $64.41. This occurred during the 15 month alleged suspension. An elected official submits for mileage reimbursement when using one’s personal vehicle for city business. The very fact that he submitted for reimbursement seems to verify that Sherwood acknowledged he drove during the 15 month period in question.
During his campaign it seems he attended many campaign events and drove himself to them. There are probably many people who can confirm that. Sherwood was elected to office in November of 2012 and was seated as councilmember in January of 2013. He jumped right into office. He was at city hall nearly every day and probably drove himself there…on a suspended license. He participated in many city events as well as regional events and probably drove himself there…on a suspended license.
There is nothing to be done about his alleged driving while suspended during that time period. One cannot go back retroactively and affect an arrest. It’s done…it’s finished…but this situation is concerning because the situation demonstrates Sherwood’s apparent habit and pattern for disregard for the law. If the alleged driving on a suspended license shows Sherwood’s propensity to disrespect the law, what other laws may he have disregarded?
I have it on good authority that Sherwood’s active warrant for Failure to Appear has been satisfied…very, very recently. Apparently in the last day or two he paid the $1,500 bond. It’s disconcerting that it took public revelation of the situation in my blog of September 8, 2015, to make him do what he should have done months ago.
The information about this issue remains interesting. Failure to Appear in Arizona Revised Statutes says under A.R.S. §13-2506, “A. A person commits failure to appear in the second degree if, having been required by law to appear in connection with any misdemeanor or petty offense, such person knowingly fails to appear as required, regardless of the disposition of the charge requiring the appearance. 1. Failure to appear in the second degree is a class 1 misdemeanor.”
I discovered that in Arizona misdemeanors are divided into 3 categories: Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious. The maximum penalties are:
- Class 1 misdemeanor: up to $2,500.00 fine and six months in jail;
- Class 2 misdemeanor: up to $750.00 fine and four months in jail;
- Class 3 misdemeanor: up to $500.00 fine and 30 days in jail.
Many citizens contacted me asking what could be done (this was before it was learned that the bond had been paid recently). The disturbing answer is absolutely nothing. Many wanted to put pressure on the city council to take some sort of action. According to the City Council Guidelines the most severe penalty available for a councilmember is, “(council will) determine what sanction is most appropriate; customarily, sanctions are limited to a letter of reprimand or censure.” Here is the link to City Council Guidelines: http://www.glendaleaz.com/CityCouncil/documents/C-Guidelinesamended2-24-2015CLEAN.pdf . There are no teeth within the City Council Guidelines and a legal issue could not be addressed by the city council.
I would suggest that it is time for city council to look at this issue. One cannot forget that at one time, 4 councilmembers were under indictment for backdating documents. The charges were eventually dismissed due to a technicality. As a result of council’s inability to address that issue, they remained seated during the legal process and even voted in the affirmative to make sure their legal fees were paid by the city. Perhaps the solution is to place the councilmember(s) on leave until the legal process resolves itself.
However, there is also the matter of the City Attorney. The City Attorney should be concerned about Sherwood’s use of a city ProCard to rent and park a vehicle during his St.Paul/Minneapolis trip on 8/13/2014 during another alleged license suspension. What if there had been an accident? The city surely would have been liable because of the use of its ProCard. It’s the stuff of which City Attorney nightmares are made. At the very least the City Attorney should require immediate reimbursement of the vehicle rental and parking fees. More importantly, perhaps this event warrants removing Sherwood’s ProCard use. Then there is the issue of Sherwood’s reimbursement for mileage during suspension. I would think that might be a legal can of worms as well. Again, at the very least it should require reimbursement to the city.
As for the Glendale Police Department’s arrest of Sherwood it becomes a moot point as he satisfied the bond associated with the warrant for his arrest since the publication of my recent blog.
Even if Sherwood has secured an attorney to deal with these allegations and they are adjucated, that does not mitigate his seeming disregard for the law. It speaks to his character…or lack thereof.
The voters of the Sahuaro district are the only ones who have the power in this situation as there is a Recall Election looming on November 3, 2015. Character is just one of the elements to consider in casting one’s vote. They have the power to decide if Sherwood’s character merits his removal as their councilmember. They do have a choice. Mr. Ray Malnar is running against Sherwood and I suspect his character is not in question.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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