First, some further clean up information on the Foothills Library. Questions have arisen as to which entity initiated the idea of sale of Foothills Library. Some contend senior staff offered it to Midwestern in an effort to produce more funds for the city. Others contend that Midwestern approached the city first. The jury is out on that question and only the two principals know the answer. What I find far more interesting is city council three years ago had requested a list of all city properties and their value. To date they have never received such a listing from senior management. To my knowledge, city council has never given specific direction to sell the Foothills Library.

Some have asked about the Capital Improvement Bonds issued to build the library. Voter approval was granted for bond capacity issuance in various categories, including that of parks and libraries. While the voter approval caps the dollar amount of bond value that may be issued, that capacity can be used for any project within its category and is not voter mandated as to which capital projects will be funded.

The current Foothills Library is 33,500 square feet. It would be reduced in size and scope to 9,100 square feet if relocated to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center (FRAC). In reality the relocated library would be placed in the FRAC’s Coyote Room which is 3,000 square feet. The kitchen area in which the library would have access is 500 square feet. The FRAC Activity Room which is occupied by pool tables would be dedicated to the library and is 2,700 square feet. However, the room’s walls are rounded. Thus the useable space is less than 2,700 square feet. The total space is 6,200 square feet, not 9,100 square feet. The additional 3,000 square feet are second floor meeting rooms counted in the library’s new square footage of 9,100 square feet. Those meeting rooms currently are dedicated to Parks and Recreation programming. Special interest classes currently held in those meeting rooms would have to be relocated. The only other option is to share the 3,000 square feet of meeting space between Parks and Recreation and the relocated library.  Hmmm…a reduction in library size from 33,000 square feet to 9,100 square feet (an approximate space reduction of 60%) will certainly enhance library services…not.

As more and more Glendale residents become aware of this proposed sale of the Foothills Library, citizen displeasure and pressure is growing to reject it. You can help by contacting the mayor and council to voice your rejection of this idea at:

Other agenda items from the Tuesday, February 3, 2015 city council workshop was the Glendale Fire Department’s request for a Certificate of Necessity (CON) from the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide city owned and operated advanced life support transport services (ambulances) within Glendale and outside of Glendale (due to Automatic Aid). Council gave its support to proceeding to seek this CON. Once the Certificate is granted, Glendale does not have to implement this service. Make no mistake, the Fire Department will seek any and all opportunities to grow and will seek to implement the service.

I read the minutes of the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) on the CON application for American Medical Response (it was granted recently). Of interest to note are the rates the state has approved for various medical transport services:

  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) rate: $862.40
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) rate: $768.20
  • Mileage rate: $15.48
  • Standby/Waiting rate: $192.05
  • Subscription Service rate: $80.54
  • Disposable Medical Supply rate: Separate charges apply

We will wait to see what the Fire Department proposes after it receives approval for a Certificate of Necessity. Council should take note that the one time, upfront cost to implement Glendale’s Advanced Life (ALS) Support with 4 new ambulances is said to be $760,000. Fire claims that cost is recoverable. It is not. I also have difficulty in accepting that this is the total cost. An ALS equipped ambulance will be in the neighborhood of $200,000. Add to that the cost of personnel to staff each vehicle.  These are real costs and it doesn’t matter whether it’s contract labor or a full time Glendale employee.

The last agenda item was city council discussion of mayoral and council staff becoming “at-will” employees rather than as they are now, classified employees. It is my observation that council missed a golden opportunity to insure its independence and confidentiality. City Manager Brenda Fischer announced that insuring council’s confidentiality was an “administrative” prerogative. Brent Stoddard, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Supervisor of all council staff, assured council that he would maintain council staff’s “political sensitivity.” While council staff does not report directly to Fischer, it does directly report to Stoddard. And who does Stoddard report to? Why, City Manager Fischer. Duh… When Mayor Weiers asked if there would be retaliation if his staff refused to divulge confidential matters, he got a non-answer. Not exactly reassuring. Councilmembers Turner, Sherwood, Chavira and Aldama were in the majority and wished no change to the current employee status.

Of note: Did you know the Phoenix Business Journal is about to present City Manager Brenda Fischer with the “Outstanding Woman in Business Award?” I guess they didn’t get the memo on Fischer’s very public tantrum at the Yard House restaurant berating Don Heicht, the CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. A majority of Glendale’s residents are embarrassed by her non-professionalism and believe at the very least, she deserves a reprimand in her personnel file.

Lastly, Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen of Snowflake introduced a bill this week that is designed to gut the state’s Open Meeting Law. Currently the law forbids elected officials from discussing upcoming agenda issues in secret among themselves. Allen’s bill allows elected officials to discuss agenda items prior to their vote, secretly. Please take the time to email Glendale’s state representatives with your expression of non support for this legislation:

Emails are a fast, efficient and very effective way to let your elected officials know your position on proposed legislation whether it is to the Glendale mayor and council to express your disapproval of the proposed sale of Foothills Library; or to your state representatives on legislation to destroy the state’s Open Meeting Law. Your voice does count…make it heard today!

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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