A new year begins and council resumes its meeting schedule. January 7, 2014 will be the council’s first workshop of the new year. On the agenda are 3 items: a legislative update, consideration of municipal marketing and consideration of revamping the city’s organizational structure.
Two of the items are Julie Frisoni’s. One, municipal marketing is an idea she had floated previously in April of 2012. On its first go-round council rejected the idea but persistence pays off and it has resurfaced. It’s a simple concept. Allow corporations to buy advertising space on city properties — libraries, buildings, vehicles and assorted other assets. While it has been partially implemented by larger cities nationally its use in the Valley has been very limited. Mesa does allow advertising on its utility bills and the revenue generated pays for the printing costs of the city’s newsletters. Other uses in the Valley have been by school districts on their school buses and by independent fire departments like Daisy Mountain Fire Department on their fire trucks. I guess there are a lot of local municipalities who would prefer not to become tacky looking with corporate advertising running rampant.
The cost to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek corporate advertising bids is between $40,000 and $75,000. Frisoni ends her presentation with the cryptic, “The source of funding would have to be identified if directed to move forward.” In plain English that means she doesn’t know where the money would come from. You can be sure that some department will end up forking over the money to fund this idea, if adopted. The city’s financial condition makes the idea very tempting. Ask yourself the question: Do you want to see corporate advertising throughout our city, including Arrowhead? I can hear the screams of outrage emanating from North Glendale now. This idea is akin to the billboard fiasco in Arrowhead. If they can’t accept billboards up there what makes Frisoni think they will accept corporate advertising all over the place?
The third item on the agenda is a presentation by Frisoni and Management Partners, Inc. The company was hired by City Manager Brenda Fischer at a cost of $46,800 — just $3,200 under the $50,000 limit that can be independently spent by the City Manager. Could be it that Fischer thought she might not get enough support on council to move on this strategy and so she made sure the contract came in under $50,000?
To the outsider, you and I, it looks like further consolidation of the City Manger’s power base. Management Partner, Inc.’s (MP) primary task was to review the structure of the enterprise funds (water, sewer and sanitation) executives as well as all other executive positions down to the division level and to recommend a new organizational structure that would go into effect on July 1, 2014. Hmmm…before you have visions of a reduction in expenditures for executive level employees, remember this – no employee leaves employment in Glendale unless he/she leaves voluntarily for employment elsewhere, retires or he/she has been fired. They are simply moved around and offered a position somewhere else in the organization at the same pay level.
As for the presentation itself by Frisoni and MP, I guess we will have to wait for the council workshop as no organizational restructuring strategies were publicly released with this agenda. It must be problematical or MP’s recommendations would have been make public already.
Lastly, there are two citizen groups in Cave Creek that are mounting recall petition drives to remove all six councilmembers with the exception of the mayor. Although the two groups oppose one another, their reasons for recall are eerily similar: fiscal irresponsibility, misrepresentations to the public in the last election and lack of transparency. It could have been written about some of our newly elected councilmembers in Glendale for we have seen shades of some of the same shenanigans.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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