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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

In the latest edition of the Glendale Star there is a Letter to the Editor by Bobby Gonzalo. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_f1487ca8-0bbc-11e6-af6a-8bae75c29b1e.html

Since many of you do not get the Star I am offering the letter to you in its entirety.

If firemen support a candidate, run

“The fire department seems to spend a lot of money on candidates every election, but look at the results.

Gary Sherwood was heavily supported by the firemen and look what a catastrophe, as he was recalled. Sam Chavira is a fireman and what has he done except create chaos and spend money as if it were monopoly money. City Manager Brenda Fischer, whose husband is some sort of fireman in Las Vegas, caused a divide in the council and disrupted the city, and who supported her, Chief Mark Burdick, the rest of the fire department, Chavira and, of course, the man that interviewed her before the process even started, Sherwood.

“I talked to a fireman before Sherwood was recalled and his comment was that we need to keep him because he is for supporting and giving money to the fire department. So, they want to give money to themselves, but the heck with our roads, the heck with our recreation programs, the heck with our libraries.

“Don’t support their candidates unless you are absolutely sure they want to help everyone. It is like three people being in a desert with a little water; you need to dole it out proportionately so that everyone survives. Don’t vote for Burdick or Chavira. They are not good for Glendale. Vote for Jerry Weiers and Joyce Clark. They are here to help everyone, not just a select few.”

Bob Gonzalo

 

The second piece of my platform in my run for the Yucca city council district seat is the Bag of Money ClipartEconomy. Glendale is just beginning its climb out of the Great Recession. Westgate and the surrounding area will continue to add new development that has already been approved by previous city councils. The next great economic frontier is west Glendale past the Loop 101 out to the Loop 303 and beyond to Sarival Road. Glendale’s future opportunities include building a diversified economy and providing good jobs for our residents. How can we achieve such goals?

  • I am committed to ensuring that Glendale’s local economy is vibrant and diverse to ensure that our city budget continues to become healthier and that well-paying jobs are created for Glendale’s residents.
  • I am committed to ensuring that Glendale’s planning and approval process for new business development is continually updated and made faster and more efficient through the latest technology available
  • I am committed to strengthening our partnerships with existent businesses by ensuring that Glendale’s business development department is constantly seeking new ways of assisting them and solving their needs
  • I am committed to making sure that Glendale’s business climate is diverse. For years Glendale has struggled to identify a business cluster to develop. That has not occurred and may be an opportunity in the years to come. In the meantime we must create new policies that attract all sorts of business to locate in Glendale

Without continual economic growth Glendale will not maintain its ability to keep its infrastructure in good repair nor will it be able to add amenities necessary for our residents’ quality of life. These elements go hand in hand with building an attractive economy. Businesses that look to locate in Glendale look for a well maintained city with amenities that are attractive to its employees.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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 morning in checking the latest edition of the Glendale Star I noted a story that Sammy Chavira had received a speeding ticket in Glendale. That, however, it not what caught my attention. Rather it was that Sammy failed to appear for his court date resulting in additional fines and a suspension of his driver’s license and vehicle registration. Here is the link to the online story: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_396a5ba0-0bbd-11e6-aeb2-e79ffa40b720.html

It seems as if Sammy Chavira and recalled councilmember Gary Sherwood are brothers under the skin. Gary Sherwood was recalled after it was discovered that he had received at least one speeding ticket, allegedly continued to drive while under suspension (criminal offense) and he failed to appear in court. Subsequently a warrant for his arrest was issued for his Failure to Appear. That wasn’t the only reason for his recall. There were others such as his lack of representation of his constituency on the Becker Billboard issue, etc.

Sammy is apparently following in his buddy’s footsteps. Here are the facts as publicly available from court records:

  • Chavira w car 2On Sunday, March 13, 2016 Sammy received a speeding ticket (civil traffic citation) in Glendale. Apparently he was in a minor traffic accident. A Glendale officer was called to the scene and the officer determined that the cause of the accident was due to Sammy’s “speed too fast to avoid collision.”
  • His date to appear in Glendale City Court was Wednesday, April 13, 2016.  According to the court record he failed to appear. Since Sammy’s citation was civil, no arrest warrant would be issued for his failure to appear in court.
  • His case was turned over to the court’s collection agency, FARE, and fines were imposed and started to mount.
  • The court also sent a notice to ADOT and a letter to Sammy suspending his driver’s license and vehicle registration. The vehicle is not registered to Sammy although he has been driving it for quite some time.
  • On Monday, April 25, 2016, Sammy apparently received his letter from the court and paid his fines, now at $408.

In the spirit of full disclosure I had two speeding tickets issued to me in Glendale…one was 20 years ago and the other 15 years ago. I paid my fine and attended the one day of traffic school in each case and I was done. No points on my license, a painful fine and an even more painful day in traffic school.

Sammy could have done the very same. Does Sammy think that the law doesn’t apply to him? First is his issue of his nearly $25,000 in questionable travel expenses and now a Failure to Appear for his court date.

A pattern demonstrating Sammy’s less than ethical behavior has emerged. First in the pattern is his apparent abuse of taxpayer money in his councilmember discretionary accounts. He used taxpayer dollars to go to Washington, D.C. to see the Pope and on another trip to D.C. to see a friend sworn in to Congress. Yet city policy, as lax as it is, requires that substantial, official city business be conducted.

This time he received a civil traffic ticket and failed to appear for his court hearing. Sammy’s response to being queried by the Glendale Star is typical Sammy when he responds with, “A glitch, I’m all good.” I don’t know about you but when I received my speeding tickets 20 years ago, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t consider it a “glitch.” I couldn’t pay my fine and go to driving school fast enough.

Sammy also questioned why his ticket would be a news story. He still doesn’t get it. Elected officials, the visible leaders of our community and the highest representatives of Glendale, are and should be, held to a higher standard. Their decisions and behavior should be beyond reproach and should be examples of ethics and morals to emulate.

Sammy’s unethical behavior coupled with the urging of many people disgusted with his inaccessibility and lack of responsiveness as a councilmember were prime motivators for my decision to run for the Yucca district city council position. I can, and will, restore honesty and integrity to the position. No more voting for large campaign contributors’ issues. No more flip-flopping on campaign promises. No more following a personal agenda. No more looking to see what’s in it for me. No more repeated absences from council meetings. No more invisible councilmember. No more personal trips using taxpayer money and then claiming city business.

In other words, NO MORE SAMMY.

Below is the actual court record, a public document obtained from the online Arizona supreme court website:

         
Case Number: M-0747-TR-2016006290  
Title: ST OF AZ VS CHAVIRA SAMUEL UL Category: Traffic
Court: Glendale Municipal Filing Date: 3/15/2016
Judge: J BAXTER Disposition Date: 4/20/2016 
       
Citation Count Description Disp. Date Disposition
C00000000905382 1 SPEED GREATER THAN REASONABLE AND PRUDENT 4/20/2016 FAILURE TO APPEAR
Date Description Party
4/21/2016 FARE: COLLECTION LTR TYPE 1 D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: 2012 SURCHARGES (83%) D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: VICTIM RIGHTS ENF ASSMNT D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: COURT IMPROV-BASE D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: DEFAULT FEE $45 031602 D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: 2011 ADDTNL ASSESSMENT D 1
4/20/2016 SUSPENSION LETTER SENT D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: FARE DELINQUENCY FEE D 1
4/20/2016 FUND:PROBATION ASSESSMENT D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: FARE FEE SPEC COLL D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: TIME PYMT $20 JCEF D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: CRT IMPROVE SURCH 83% D 1
4/20/2016 FUND: BASE FINE D 1
4/20/2016 INFO: ASSIGNED TO FARE D 1
4/13/2016 CAL: ARRAIGNMENT-CIVIL TRAFFIC
3/15/2016 COMPLAINT FILED-UNIFORM CITATN D 1

Koi pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 25, 2016
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

It has been 18 years and 129 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

This month we celebrated the fifth year of our Koi pond. We left the shade screen over the top all winter and it didn’t seem to hurt. So we will leave it up until it deteriorates. So far we have used it for 2 years and it is holding up well.

I discovered that the Taro plant is an invasive as the Yerba Mansa. This week we removed the all of the Taro on the left side of the pond. We discover runners that had

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

burrowed under the pond’s rubber liner and removed it all. We are leaving a small patch of Taro on the right. If it starts to become too invasive and we can’t control it, we will remove it as well.

I also removed a large tub of Iris in the center of the pond. It didn’t bloom this year and its height impeded a comfortable view of the large waterfall and pond. Once again, I left a smaller patch of Iris that sits in a pot on top of the fish shelter. It bloomed profusely this year with at least two dozen blooms. Beautiful!

IMG_0069 A

Water lily, Koi Pond, April, 2016

We added a funky wrought iron flower sculpture in the island between the small waterfall and the pond. It added a splash of color where it was sorely needed. We also added

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

a yellow hibiscus, yellow canna lily and some small plants, some with red flowers and some with yellow flowers to add more color to the island. Alas, the large Agave rotted and died. We decided not to replace it as it made it too difficult to maneuver on the island.

Our external, four barrel adjunct filter system is doing a fantastic job. It just keeps chugging along and keeps the water quite clear. I still add a mesh, laundry bag of barley to the pond every month or two. As the barley decays it releases a substance that kills algae.

The Koi are doing very well.  They have grown a great deal. Some of them are now 4 years old. We have about 30 of them and even though they are fed commercial Koi

Koi Pond, April, 2016

Koi Pond, April, 2016

food once a day, they spend a great deal of time foraging on algae that persists on the submerged rocks. I also periodically (when I think about it) make a small ball of bentonite clay, throw it on a pot shelf and watch the Koi attack it. They seem to love it.

From time to time, not frequently, I do use some Algae Fix to keep the level of algae down. We also spend some time hand removing string algae. It seems to love the small stream that meanders around a portion of the pond.

There is always maintenance: trimming of the vegetation surrounding the pond, removal of decaying lily leaves and removing string algae. But all is a labor of love.

Koi Feeding time

Koi Feeding time

This time of year, March and April, is Arizona’s spring, with several days of flirtation in the 90’s. Everything is in bloom, vibrant and colorful. This time of year we spend a great deal of time outside, enjoying Koi antics.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

I hadn’t seen this opinion piece in the Glendale Star until several people brought it to my attention this morning. Obviously I agree with Judge Tolby’s opinion on the issue and so I am offering it to you.  It was posted on the Glendale Star website on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Judges are held to a higher standard, so should councilmembers

 By QUENTIN TOLBY, Lessons from the Bench

When I became a judge some 25 years ago, the commission on judicial conduct made me aware that you did not even have to do something bad, as a judge you were held to a higher standard, even the “appearance” of impropriety is wrong.

When I read the lead story in the March 31 edition of The Glendale Star and saw Councilmember Sam Chavira ask for a review of the city’s travel policy, I almost choked. Councilmembers are given taxpayer money to spend for the benefit of the taxpayer, not for their personal pleasure or benefit.

It is really very simple; ask yourself what benefit is the taxpayer going to get from me spending their money. Not very complicated; buying dinner for your boss who’s the fire chief of Phoenix, does not benefit the taxpayer in Glendale. Notice when everyone who benefited from the dinner found out he used a City of Glendale credit card and not his own, they quickly sent their check to the city.

Spending the taxpayer money to go see the Pope does not benefit the taxpayer in Glendale. Going to see Congressman Reuben Gallego sworn in is not going to benefit the City of Glendale.

Once in a while, I have been known to mess up. I told an off-color story, and the commission on judicial conduct wrote me asking about it. Now, I did not think the story was that bad, I do not think the company I told it in was that bad. My first thought was I can beat this rap, I can defend my action. Then, I realized the right thing was “no defense.”

I wrote the commission a three-line reply: It happened. I am sorry. It will not happen again. And the situation went away very quickly.

If Chavira would have said up front, “I messed up, I am sorry, it will not happen again,” this story would have gone away. Asking the council to review the policy keeps it alive.

What does the council write into the policy? “Do the right thing. Spend taxpayer money on the taxpayer.”

Chavira asked the city attorney if he violated city policy in spending the money on himself and the city attorney said, “No.”

He should have asked, “Did I violate the public trust?”

I think the answer is, “yes.”

Lesson: Chavira must have lost his moral compass.

Here is the link to Tolby’s opinion piece: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_89581056-00d4-11e6-b831-8748894570bf.html .

There is no more important position in the City of Glendale. All 7 city councilmembers, which includes the position of Mayor, create and decide on all policy and all local laws for the city. City council decides all kinds of policies and enacts all kinds of laws. For example, when your garbage is picked up and how many times a week; what city projects are funded and which are rejected; or the speed limits within our city.

But there is far more to being a councilmember. A councilmember is not only a leader of the community.  He or she is a symbol of our value system. Each is charged with being above reproach and is considered to be an example of and an emissary of our community.

My platform consists of 5 “E’s. Over the next week or so I will flesh out each “E.” The first of these is

Ethics. Ethics is standards of right and wrong that tell us what we ought to do in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. For example, it is unethical to steal, murder, or commit fraud. Ethics embodies honesty, compassion and loyalty. It motivates us to act based upon the concepts of right and wrong. It is a moral philosophy.

I am running to bring ethics, including honesty and integrity, back to the Yucca district city council position. The current holder of the position seems to have misplaced his ethical compass. Witness the recent media stories that cite his abuse Chavira and luggage 1of taxpayers’ dollars and trust by using taxpayer money for nearly $25,000 of highly questionable trips. Despite the laxity of city policy, it does generally require that councilmembers’ trips are to be done for city business. Most people agree that it is unethical to go to Washington, D.C. using taxpayer dollars to see the Pope on a large screen TV. Despite the fig leaf of the councilmember’s claim that city business was done (for 5 minutes?) many Yucca citizens believe that he abused the taxpayers’ trust. There are also questions about frivolous expenses he incurred on these kinds of trips, such as a $420 dinner for his boss, the Phoenix Fire Chief.

The people of Glendale have every right to expect their public officials to be of the highest character. I pledge that as your councilmember I will make public every taxpayer dollar I spend. If the city cannot accommodate my intent then I will personally post all of my expenses on my blog site, www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com  for anyone to see at any time. It’s your money and you should know the who, what, where, why and when of my expenditures of taxpayer money as a councilmember.

When public officials, such as Mr. Chavira, not only waste taxpayer dollars on questionable expenses, but then refuses to disclose receipts for reimbursement, or votes in favor of issues belonging to some of his largest campaign contributors, he tarnishes what it means to be your councilmember and reduces his ability to ethically represent our district’s best interests.

When I learned of Mr. Chavira’s actions I was angry and dismayed for he had tarnished the reputation not just of the Yucca district elected position but he has now raised public distrust of all of Glendale’s elected officials. He has reinforced the public notion that all politicians are crooks and corrupt. The actions he committed in an instant will take much time to repair. He has lost the trust of the people who elected him to serve them.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. For more information go tohttp://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.

It has been 18 years and 124 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Since I and volunteers have been walking for nominating petition signatures I have lost 15 lbs. It seems I have become living proof of the benefits of walking.  As I walk and reconnect with people even those who are not registered wish me luck or urge me to be safe or offer me water. People are amazing.

We are on track to acquire the maximum number of signatures needed by May. Why not settle for getting the minimum number needed? There is usually about a 40% error rate. Some people claim to be registered and are not. Some people who sign the petitions do not live in the district but rather just across a district border. All of the signatures will be verified before turning them in to insure that there is at least the minimum number of “good” signatures. It is tedious and time consuming work.

Fundraising continues and will continue throughout the entire campaign and after. The most expensive element of any campaign is the political mailers. It can easily cost $5,000 to do one district mailing. I have been incredibly touched by handwritten notes sent with campaign donations. Here is just a brief sampling:

  • “We are glad you are running for city council again. You have our support.thermometer w new numbers Ap 20 2016 We will continue to help any way we can.”
  • “We are not in your district but we need your voice and community commitment more than ever.”
  • “Welcome back! Our neighborhood has gone down since you left.”
  • “I don’t live in your district so I can’t support you with a yard sign. I will be happy to help in any way that I can.”
  • “You will bring wisdom and leadership, again, to Glendale.”
  • “Glendale sure needs you back.”

What is even more incredible is that contributions are coming in not just from Yucca district residents but from all over Glendale…from north Glendale, zip code 85308 to central Glendale, zip codes 85304 and 85302 to south Glendale, zip code 85301. All of my contributions to date are coming from people just like you in amounts of $25, $50, $100 up to $500. It is truly astonishing and I am humbled by the outpouring of good wishes as well as a distinct yearning for leadership and representation.

Running for office is difficult. One has to be truly committed to take up the challenge. Your days become consumed…answering resident phone calls; making phone calls for contributions; walking the district; and attending small, neighborhood meetings.

In the meantime, I and my campaign group are designing campaign signs, drafting the beginnings of a campaign message for a mailing and setting up neighborhood meetings. It is a busy time. Everyone is excited. They can feel change coming and so do I.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

It has been 18 years and 121 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Chavira volunteer

Chavira volunteer’s vehicle

Before we delve into the classification and compensation study, I just had to share this. A voter who had signed my nominating petition emailed me with this photo. To say the voter was perturbed would be an understatement. The voter observed a woman parking her vehicle. See it parked on the sidewalk? It turns out that the vehicle belonged to a young woman who was trying to obtain petition signatures for Sammy Chavira and Mark Burdick in a neighborhood I had already canvassed.  Apparently she did not know the law or chose to ignore the law. No matter. It seems to be the perfect symbol of the opposition who apparently think that laws are not meant to be obeyed. Talk about making a positive PR statement for your candidate…not!

On April 12, 2016 the third agenda item was an employee classification and compensation study performed by the consultant, Segal Waters. The presenters were Jim Brown, Human Resources Director and Andrew Knutson of Segal Waters. I cannot provide an easy link to the study because the file is too large and this blog site cannot accommodate it. However you can always go to www.glendaleaz.com, then click on the City Clerk link on the left side of the page. Once you get there at the top there is a link to Council Minutes and Agendas. Click on that and a page of dates will appear. Scroll down to 4/12/16, city council workshop. Then click on the Agenda for that meeting. The third item on the agenda is the study.

For this study Segal Waters used 11 Valley cities with Chandler and Gilbert being closest in population and the number of employees to Glendale. The consultant also used 3 private sector studies in arriving at its conclusions. The study focused on non-represented employees, those employees that are not primarily in the police and fire departments.

Mr. Brown began by stating that the city has no Compensation Philosophy. He did not indicate which of the cities used in the study had such a philosophy. Mr. Brown recommended that council adopt such a philosophy. If it contains specific annual increases to be met I would be reluctant to adopt it.

In the study’s Executive Summary it states, “Based on overall market data including custom survey peer employers and published data representative of the private sector, the City of Glendale’s pay structure is consistent with the market average at the minimum and midpoint, but falls below the custom survey and overall market average at the pay range maximum, as shown below.

“We define market competitiveness as being between 95% and 105% of the market average at the minimum, midpoint, and maximum. Market comparisons that fall within this competitive corridor are noted in black, below 95% are noted in red, and above 105% are notes in blue.”

In plain English, the study recommends giving employees who are at the maximum range of their pay scale an increase. In other words those non-represented employees who are at the top of their pay range should get more money. By the way, there are indeed employees who fall in the 105% category.

If this classification and compensation study is accepted in full it will affect 400 of the city’s 1,000 plus non-represented employees at a total cost of $3.1 million dollars initially. The study did not reflect the annual increase to the General Fund should this study be implemented.

The justification used to support the results were the turnover rates of non-represented employees:

  • In Fiscal Year 2013 the turnover rate was 20.2% or 182 employees
  • In Fiscal Year 2014 the turnover rate was 18.8% or 186 employees
  • In Fiscal Year 2015 the turnover rate was 14.5% or 158 employees

One question unasked by councilmembers was how did Glendale’s turnover rate during these Fiscal Years compare to other Valley cities? The justification for the study’s recommendation seemed to rely upon an implication staff made that the turnover rate was due to employees taking higher paying positions with other Valley cities. However, people leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons. How many of these employees simply retired? How many became ill and could no longer work? What about those employees who left their jobs only to be reemployed by the city as contract employees? That happens all the time. Employees leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons, not exclusively to take another municipal job at higher pay.

Councilmember Turner asked Mr. Brown if the city conducted employee exit interviews. Mr. Brown said that the city does. When asked for data about those interviews Mr. Brown had nothing to offer.

Councilmember Turner also asked a question about whether all departments were right-sized. Again, Mr. Brown, Director of Human Resources, could provide no information and punted to the individual departments for reliance as to whether each is right sized. Why has Human Resources never recommended a study to verify the right-sizing of all city departments? Why is staff so reluctant to accept the concept of zero-based budgeting, a mechanism that would produce an answer as to whether departments are right-sized?

It is understandable that Mr. Brown as Human Resources Director and Mr. Phelps as City Manager would urge the council to accept this study. That is part of their advocacy – to represent the employees and seek to gain pay raises for them.

Council has the right to have its questions answered in full. Until that occurs it should not be so hasty to accept the study’s recommendation.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

It has been 18 years and 118 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

There were three major items on the city council workshop agenda of April 12, 2016: Assessment of the Glendale Police Department by Citygate Associates, LLC; Assessment of the Glendale Fire Department by Citygate Associates, LLC; and the Classification and Compensation Study by Segal Waters. All were major studies and links are provided to all.

Citygate performed a fair and unbiased study of the police department and fire department and staff is to be congratulated for having chosen them. These studies corroborate the fact that both departments, while they have specific needs, have performance and service records that are exceptional and meeting our community’s needs.

I have provided the Executive Summary of the police department analysis here: Citygate Associates Deployment and Performance Review .There are several comments that are worthy of note. On page 3 of the Executive Summary it states, “The Glendale City Council and this community have every reason to be proud of its Police Department. In Citygate’s opinion, as well as the opinion of many people interviewed for this report, the Police Chief and the Command staff were identified as a key strength. They are regarded as compassionate and caring individuals with a strong and unwavering commitment to the employees and the community. They were described as being ‘available’ to meet with community groups, actively listening to their concerns, and taking appropriate actions.”

On page 2 it was noted, “The recommendations in this study should be considered as a continuous quality improvement tune-up that can be applied in the year-to-year budget process.”

Also on page 2 City gate noted 5 major areas, “There are, however, five areas that draw particular attention to: (1) sufficient staffing to meet the deployment needs and response time standards for hot and emergency calls; (2) response times for second-in units (backup units); (3) restoring the professional (civilian) staff positions that provide support for key areas such as communications, patrol, and investigations; (4) 9-1-1 answering times in the Communications Center; and (5) appropriate staffing for non-emergency report calls.”

Citygate offered 50 findings and 41 recommendations at the conclusion of its report. Two thirds of its findings are positive and validate the department’s priorities and strategies. Its overall strategic finding #1 is, “Current budgeted vacancies throughout the organization are impacting service delivery, performance standards, and response times.” The overall strategic recommendation #1 is, “Fill the current budgeted vacancies and implement Community Service Officer additions as detailed in Section 1.8.”

Two recommendations are particularly noteworthy. On page 13 Citygate’s recommendation #6 states, “Establish a new CSO classification, capable of performing the recommended duties described above. Augument staffing in Patrol, Investigations and Call Back Unit (CBU) with these positions. Specific to Patrol, we recommend 6 CSOs be added to assist in call load distribution and reduce response times. (CSO staffing recommendations for Investigations and CBU are found in Section 4.”)

The second recommendation of note is the finding that the indirect costs of special events are not reimbursed under current contract agreements with the recommendation to, “examine alternative funding reimbursement mechanisms for special events, especially those conducted at the arena and stadium.”

What do these recommendations mean in English? A Community Service Officer (CSO) is a non-sworn position and would not require graduation from a police training academy. This position would still require some rigorous checks such as a background check, polygraph, psychological, etc. This position would certainly take the more mundane tasks away from sworn officers. They could assist at traffic accidents (which by their very nature are very time consuming for patrol officers). They could perform paperwork and report tasks for investigative officers (also very time consuming) and could handle Call Backs to citizens with regard to minor crimes. In other words this position would free up time for sworn officers to handle more serious tasks. It was recommended that 6 CSO positions be added to patrol and 4 CSO positions to investigations over two years and 2 CSO positions to the CBU. Obviously not all can be added in one year but it is incumbent upon city council to develop a schedule of adding these positions over the next several budget cycles.

The other recommendation of note is that the city does not recapture the costs involved in assisting special events at the arena and stadium. This has been well known by senior staff for years. One had simply to look at the police and fire costs to host the Super Bowl to know that the city has never received full compensation. It is an issue whose time has come. Up to now the police department has been absorbing the unpaid costs. The police department budget is part of the city’s General Fund which means you, the taxpayer, pays for the unrecompensed costs of special events.

Many of the recommendations about further data analysis, the records unit, etc. are being done or have been completed internally.  Other recommendations are under additional evaluation such as the criteria for Priority 2 calls, and the restoration of Detention staffing. Other recommendations will be adopted immediately such as filling current, budgeted vacancies and certifying an investigator for forensic computer analysis.

In summary, the report identified that the Glendale police department’s service delivery is meeting the mark but if we expect it to continue, it cannot be done without recognizing that there are certain staffing areas within the department that will need resources over the next few budget cycles.

On to the Citygate analysis of the Glendale Fire Department provided here Fire HQ Assessment – Volume 1 of 3. Remember last year and the entire dustup about the city’s purchase of a fire engine and the fire union’s assertion that the city was in dire straits because response times were deteriorating? Does the union realize that if it keeps crying wolf at some point the public will no longer believe them. Citygate definitively stated that our fire department’s response times meet the National Fire Protection Association (NPFA) advisory, best practices standard of 7 minutes and recommended its formal adoption.

 Once again, I recognize that the individual firefighters, men and women, are outstanding and deliver caring and efficient service to our community. I thank them for their exceptional service. My only concern has been that the fire union, for too long, has run the department and worked diligently to realize its agenda. That agenda has not always been in the best interests of our community. With the hiring of the new Fire Chief Terry Garrison it appears that his only agenda is to deliver the best service possible to Glendale’s residents. After 5 months on the job he has already proven that he is indeed in charge of Glendale’s fire department. He is to be commended based upon his performance to date.

Citygate says on page 1 of its Executive Summary, “Citygate finds a best practices based agency, with very committed and caring employees, some of the best we have ever met. They take pride in what they do, how they do it, and in taking care of the expensive equipment the City has to provide.”

Just as in Citygate’s analysis of the police department it offered findings and recommendations for the fire department as well.

On page 7 of the Executive Summary recommendation #2 states in part, “Funding should be provided, as soon as possible, to make a two-person low acuity team permanent.” In recommendation #3 on the same page it states, “The Department should work with its Medical Director and the ambulance provider to send only basic (Emergency Medical Technician [EMT], non-paramedic) ambulances to the low acuity incidents. Doing so will further control costs and retain more paramedic-level ambulances for the most serious patient emergencies.”

What does this mean? If you recall I questioned the use of big fire trucks and ladder trucks with a full crew of 4 firefighters responding to medical calls. The wear and tear on the equipment, the cost of use, and the removal of 4 firefighters from service is impractical and costly to the city. I asked that we follow the City of Mesa’s lead and develop a pilot project using a smaller vehicle with a two man team. Thanks to Interim Fire Chief (now back to his position as Assistant Chief) Chris DeChant the implementation of that pilot project began immediately. Apparently it has proven itself and in Fiscal Year 16-17 there will be a request for an additional unit. Kudos to Assistant Chief DeChant.

Another Citygate recommendation is that Fire Prevention develop and implement “an in-depth cost recovery policy,” as well as, “a permit and inspection fee schedule.”

Two critical findings found on page 9 of the Executive Summary identify the need to replace the department’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), to replace paramedic cardiac monitor defibrillator units, and to acquire a second set of personal protective equipment for each firefighter. These findings are critical to the health and safety of every firefighter and to the patients they serve. It appears that funding requests for SCBA and protective equipment will be in the Fiscal Year 16-17 budget.

There were two findings that are also critical and must be addressed. One is the department must create a fire apparatus replacement program. The other is the department and the city does not have a capital facilities replacement fund to support capital repairs, replace fire stations or to add new fire stations. These issues must be addressed by senior management.

Another recommendation was the city’s pursuit of a Certificate of Necessity (CON) for city provided ambulance service. I don’t think the city is there yet.  Investigation of the requirements and steps to achieve such are appropriate but it has not proven necessary to acquire a CON yet. City provision of ambulance service is extremely costly despite staff assertions that costs will be covered by those using the city provided service. It never quite comes out that way and will become another major annual cost to taxpayers. Obtaining a CON must be proven to be essential and critical to the city.

Lastly, a recommendation to rehabilitate the city’s pre-emptive traffic control devices is a welcome step. These devices allow public safety to change a red light to green at intersections but will only minimally affect travel time to a scene. It will make intersections safer for public safety personnel as well as citizens. As Citygate observed as Glendale continues to become more urbanized its response times will increase due to the sheer volume of traffic as well as the city’s street grid system.

In summary Citygate did a thorough job of evaluating service delivery to the residents of Glendale. It found that service delivery of both departments is exceptional and their representatives offered that these two departments perform well above other municipal departments. The Citygate representatives were truly impressed with our departments.

Every Glendale resident should be impressed and proud of our police and fire departments. I think many residents do appreciate their service although it is not often expressed unless you happen to be a victim of a crime or a medical emergency. I think it is only then that many people come to realize how truly committed and caring our police and fire employees are. So, for the silent majority…thank you from grateful community.

I offered a great deal of information so I will discuss the Classification and Compensation Study in a separate blog.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

It has been 18 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The city council meeting of April 12, 2016 had a lot of green shirts with the logo “Heroes Park –Finish It” in attendance. Citizen speakers spoke about the need to finish the park, long

Green shirts in city council chambers

Green shirts in city council chambers

overdue; about the density of homes in the proposed residential development south of the Grand Canal; and the need to reopen O’Neil Pool. City council did take notice and several spoke about the park during council comments. What were heard were platitudes. Some said there was recognition of the need to finish the park but none offered a solid commitment to make that happen. Others recognized the need for more parking at the park and punted saying that more temporary parking would be created when the temporary modular library branch was installed.

None of the non-solutions are satisfactory. That means the work of the citizen group led by Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district is not done. Continual pressure by the citizens’ group must continue. They will not succeed with a one day show of

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

citizen force. Pressure must be applied on the city council to allocate the money needed to complete this park.

Please contact Glendale’s city councilmembers at the email addresses listed below and tell them you want Heroes Park finished and it has been far too long.

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers at mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • Vice Mayor Ian Hugh at ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Bart Turner at bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff at ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar at rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Jamie Aldama at jaldama@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Sammy Chavira at schavira@glendaleaz.com

Or call the city council assistants and leave a message for each councilmember:

  • Mayor Weiers office at 623-930-2260
  • An army

    An army

    Council assistant Ryan Lee for Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff at 623-930-2250

  • Council assistant Adam Maynes for Councilmembers Hugh and Aldama at 623-930-2878
  • Council assistant Van Ornelas for Councilmembers Malnar and Chavira at 623-930-2016

If, after 18 years, you want Heroes Park to be completed it requires your involvement. One tiny ant can’t do very much but an army of ants can move mountains. You need to become a member of the ant army and actively voice your support for the completion of this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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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